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20 October 2016

“Helping the self-employed is a public policy for employment”, states the ATA president

The president of the National Federation of the Self-employed Workers Associations (ATA), Lorenzo Amor, highlighted the key role it plays in public policy during his speech at a conference organised by Deusto Business School and Madrid Business Forum.

Following the presentations of DBS Madrid director, Iñaki Ortega, and the president of Madrid Business Forum, Hilario Alfaro, the president of ATA decided to change the initial title of his speech, “Public Policies for Self-employed” to “The self-employed as public policy”.

And he did so to show some figures that reflect the contribution of the self-employed to public policy: they account for 18.3% of the Spanish labour force and generate about 30% of the employment in our country. Moreover, “they are key players in the regeneration of our production and economic model in which competitiveness and innovation are no longer the monopoly of the leading companies", stated Amor.

Lorenzo Amor presented a series of measures which, from his point of view, can no longer be delayed for the self-employed or the economy as a whole. These include the request that the self-employed should pay according to the amount of their income or that there is a real second opportunity for self-employed.

He also called for a two-year extension of the unemployment period for the self-employed and to make pensions compatible with self-employment. Another of the measures he proposed is allow the removal of age limits for the older self-employed following long periods of contribution in both systems.

In addition, he called for the clear establishment of deductions for vehicles and supplies when working from the home or the promotion of mechanisms to convert receipts to invoices when there is no physical issuing mechanism (parking meters, gas stations...).
Likewise, in order to avoid nonpayment, he requested the establishment of a 20% automatic surcharge for the delay of payment from public administrations.

On the other hand, the president of ATA criticized those public policies which were supposedly put into effect to favour the self-employed, but without having consulted them. “These have not only been ineffective, but also have generally had detrimental effects.” However, he cited other examples that have proved to be beneficial and which were launched after "speaking to the man on the street” affected by such measures. One such example is the payment plan to suppliers, which according to Amor, has saved hundreds of thousands of SMEs, self-employed and jobs.

Regarding entrepreneurs, Lorenzo Amor stated that “starting a business is no longer crazy” and stressed the role of educational institutions such as Deusto Business School which concentrate on entrepreneurship subjects “highlighting important aspects such as knowing what assets and liabilities are, what taxes are for and values such as hard work, illusion, sacrifice, etc.".

The president of ATA finished his talk by demanding that the self-employed no longer be considered “second-class citizens”, and that they should be taken into account in the different forums and working groups when public administrations design policies that ultimately affect them and insisted on the key role that these professionals play in society and the economy.