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'Spain's nightlife is being killed by high taxes'

George Mills · 24 Jul 2013, 15:55

Published: 24 Jul 2013 15:55 GMT+02:00

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Staff in around 500 clubs nationwide will down tools at 2am on Sunday morning to observe a minutes silence.

The protest is part of a campaign called "Save the music, Save the night" being organized by group representing club owners, staff, and music performers.

The groups are protesting against Spain's 21 percent value-added tax (IVA) rate which they say is strangling the sector.

Read about the protest singers rocking out against Spain's crisis.

"In the same way there was a white tide (of doctors protesting against the privatization of Spain's hospitals) and a green tide (of people in favour of public education), we are trying to create a tide of citizens in defence of culture and entertainment," Vicente Pizcueta of Noche Madrid told Spanish free paper 20 minutos.

Noche Madrid says 800 of the 4,500 clubs in the Community of Madrid have been forced to close their doors since the crisis kicked off.

Meanwhile, a poll by market research firm Nielsen shows consumption of spirits in bars and clubs has fallen 53 percent in the last five years.

"The rise in value-added taxes is the straw that broke the camel's back after several years of crisis, the anti-smoking laws and rules about outdoor seating,"  Pizcueta said. 

The problems facing Spain's leisure sector are two-fold.

The industry is losing money, with earnings down €720 million.  On top of that, the closure of many of Spain's clubs and bars has pushed the youth jobless rate up even further.

A study into youth employment in the sector showed that average age of workers was 27.4 and 44 percent of workers in the industry were aged under 25.

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But now the sector is fighting back.

Saturday's protest won't be the end either. Clubs participating in the protest will carry out a new protest on the 21st day of every month.

"We want more and more establishments to join this fight and we expect a thousand on board by September," Pizcueta told 20 minutos.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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