Friday, September 30

Inés Arrimadas spreads erroneous self-employed quotas to justify Ciudadanos’ ‘no’ to the reform

“This is what the PSOE, PP and Podemos intend to approve tomorrow about the self-employed”, Inés Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos, said this Wednesday in a comment on Twitter to justify the ‘no’ of the orange party to the self-employed reform agreed unanimously in social dialogue. The tweet is accompanied by some erroneous tables of self-employed quotas for the next nine years, not the ones that will be approved this Thursday for the next three years. The published graphics are old, they correspond to one of the first proposals of the Government to the social dialogue table, known in January 2022, which changed a lot in the following months of negotiations.

Arrimadas’ tweet was also shared this morning by the Ciudadanos profile, which announced yesterday that it would vote ‘no’ to the decree with the reform that is submitted for validation this Thursday in Parliament. “This is what the PSOE, PP and Podemos intend to approve tomorrow regarding the self-employed: whoever pays €1,900, raise the minimum fee from €294 to almost €600; Whoever enters €2,500, shoot it up to €728. It is a looting of the usual in the midst of a crisis. We Liberals will vote NO”, collects the tweet.

The figures released are wrong for several reasons, for example, regarding those 600 euros of fee for people who enter 1,900 euros. In the first place, because Inés Arrimadas refers to an outdated table and, specifically, to a figure for 2031 when the reform finally agreed and approved only has quotas for the next three years. They are the following:

The Social Security tried to agree on a reform for the next nine years, but in the end it only stuck to specifying the quotas for the next three years due to the difficulty of putting all the parties in agreement.

Secondly, the tweet by the leader of Ciudadanos is wrong because, even in the Government’s initial proposal, that fee was not considered for 1,900 euros of “income”, as Arrimadas indicates, but for net returns, which are something similar to benefits (income minus deductible expenses).

In the end, the definition of “real income” or net income has been refined much more during the many months of negotiating the reform, with even an additional percentage deductible from this income for expenses that cannot be easily attributed to the activity of Workers.

False data and other contradictions

The party has given a press conference in Congress, in which Edmunco Bal has explained Ciudadanos’ ‘no’ to the reform agreed by all parties to the negotiation. “It is a modification that is going to make this group pay a lot more,” said Bal, who pointed out that the most affected are those who earn the least.

However, the Social Security estimate indicates that the agreed quotas will mean the same or a reduction for two thirds of the self-employed with respect to their current contribution. Those who earn the least will see their contributions reduced compared to what they pay at the moment, with a minimum fee of 294 euros per month. On the other hand, a third of self-employed workers will contribute more, but they are the ones with higher earnings, which will also give them the right to higher benefits (sick leave, paternity leave, retirement, etc.).

The Ciudadanos spokesperson has also defended the current elective system of quotas for the self-employed, an anomaly that caused almost 90% of workers to contribute the minimum amount to the system, earning little to thousands of euros per month. Then, consequently, the self-employed had lower benefits. For example, the pensions of the self-employed are 40% lower than those of wage earners.

The position that Ciudadanos now defends also does not fit with the recommendation of the Toledo Pact for the self-employed to contribute based on their real income, which his party voted in favor of and was supported by the vast majority of Parliament without any vote against. This reform is the one that the Government negotiated for months, through the Ministry of Social Security led by José Luis Escrivá, and that ended with a historic agreement in July with the support of all the negotiators.

Self-employed groups ask for “responsibility”

The president of ATA, Lorenzo Amor, has pointed out the use of this false table, although without expressly referring to Inés Arrimadas. “We ask the political parties to be responsible, please do not create confusion. We have found some tweets with some tables that are not in the royal decree. These are not the contributions that the self-employed are going to have next year”, Amor has maintained.

ATA, the conservative organization of self-employed members of the CEOE employers’ association, has met this Wednesday with the PP, which has announced the vote in favor of the decree. Lorenzo Amor thanked the support for the PP and called for the “responsibility” of all political parties to respect what was agreed by all parties in the social dialogue.

The leader of UPTA, a self-employed organization linked to UGT, has also made the same claim. Eduardo Abad has demanded “responsibility” from the political formations to support a reform that ends with an “unfair” system, he has underlined. “We hope that the political parties are up to the circumstances, the current system is absolutely unfair,” he said.