IT was perfect example of political double speak. Spanish Health Minister, Ana Mato, when asked, said there were no plans to modify the nationwide smoking laws. Now she tells Congress; ‘I never close the door to any issue; the matter is open to discussion.’ Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy proposed a re-think on the anti-smoking edict that came into force January 2, 2011.
Smokers may yet get a belated reprieve. The ban on smoking in public places would affect proposals to green light Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s EuroVegas mega sized gambling resorts, which the government is keen to welcome. Not surprisingly, those in the mainly entertaining industry say the price the government will have to pay is to lift the smoking ban; application of the law cannot be selective.
Spain’s wealthiest families are up in arms as the government’s amnesty for tax evasion is ‘not sufficiently generous.’ The amnesty carrot was that 10% of self-confessed back tax of amounts due would be payable if those with offshore accounts got their tax affairs straightened out. The Spanish government hopes to claw back €2.5 billion of the €25 billion it estimates Spaniards have squirreled away abroad. Reminds me of British comedian Ken Dodd who, when hauled before the beak for tax evasion quipped: ‘Self assessment? I invented it.’