Saturday, April 1

The ‘I’m older, not an idiot’ campaign reaches Congress

After two months active, the campaign ‘I’m older, not an idiot‘ has made the leap to Congress. Several parties have already registered initiatives in this body to guarantee face-to-face assistance in the provision of services, both in the banking sector (initial seed of the mobilization), and in the Public Administration itself. All this as a result of the success of the collection of signatures through ‘’ driven by a 78-year-old retiree who precisely demanded physical branches and face-to-face attention to banks. Charles Saint John, the man who started this campaign, has collected more than half a million signatures since he published the petition, which has been on the air for around two months but became media coverage in mid-January. In fact, as he himself recounted, San Juan has received calls from the Governor of the Bank of Spain, Pablo Hernandez de Kos, and from Ministry of Economy, and in the last two weeks all this has moved to the political plane.

According to the Europa Press agency, the PSOE has registered a non-law proposition intended to apply the constitutional principle of age discrimination in the digital field and to tackle the so-called digital divide. Specifically, it proposes assistance aid and alternative face-to-face means to facilitate access to digital public services for those who, due to their age or situation of social vulnerability, do not have digital skills or technical means to access these services. In their initiative, the Socialists also propose to facilitate the digital training of older people in “proximity and free civic spaces”.

The other party that is part of the Government, United We Can, has also registered its own non-law proposal on this matter, just as Más País-Equo did before, although both take it beyond the administration and extend these demands to the private sector, particularly to essential service companies. Specifically, United We Can is committed to setting minimum requirements so that banks and energy companies, water supply companies or any other that provides essential services, enable face-to-face attention to citizens, with special attention to people and groups in a situation of vulnerability.

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On its side, Más País-Equo proposes to take advantage of the future Customer Service Law to guarantee that no person suffers from financial exclusion. To this end, it proposes recognizing access to cash as universal service, forcing the bank a minimum of ATMs and offices.

Finally, the PP has also endorsed Carlos San Juan’s claim and has even registered initiatives asking for the necessary legislative reforms to be carried out to avoid “the financial exclusion that hangs over the most vulnerable Spaniards, due to the digital threat in the provision of banking services and the closing of branches”.