TORREMOLINOS Council has been forced to go back on its word to carry out works restoring 31 apartment buildings in the municipality after the aid was deemed “illegal.”
The current minority-governing PSOE party plans to meet with residents to explain the aid withdrawal and will begin the process of raising the necessary funds through the appropriate channels. It also claims a compensation claim could be made against the party who initially approved the subsidy.
The backtracking comes after the proposed pay-out, which was promised in the 2015 election campaign when the Partido Popular (PP) had an outright majority, was criticised by a council legal report saying it was carried out “without any procedure, tender or publicity.”
The report claims the way the aid, which is intended to help 658 homes and 1,500 residents across 31 apartment blocks, was apportioned was “manifestly arbitrary.” Residents who were relying on the works, 261 of whom have been living in the same home for 65 years or more, will now be forced to wait until a new subsidy is approved.
The announcement has created a political fallout between the PP and PSOE, with Immaculada Rosales, the former Social Welfare Councillor, asserting the aid was “verified perfectly through individual case-by-case studies,” and claiming its withdrawal is a “smoke screen” to divert voters’ attention away from a rise in IBI, Spain’s property tax.
Pedro Perez, the current Councillor for Social Welfare, has now requested a meeting with around 1,000 residents where he will tell them the aid “cannot be given because the agreements reached in 2015 have been declared null and void,” because the previous council team “did not comply with the relevant conract regulatory procedure as set out in the book, Law on Public Sector Contracts.”
The report explains the requirement in offering the aid was for it to benefit a “majority of people” who “were low-spending and elderly and could not afford to pay.” The report claims there is no evidence this criteria was met before the funds were promised, however, claiming the aid was granted by “overstepping legal bounds in an obvious, flagrant and boisterous way.”