Unemployment Rate down to 18.9%
The unemployment rate on the island dropped to 18.9% during the third quarter of 2017 – the first time that it has been below 20% since 2008. The improvement has been particularly fast during the last six months, with the unemployment rate improving by nearly 5 percentage points during that period. Unemployment in Lanzarote reached its crisis-era peak of 35.7% in 2010.
Several socio-cultural centres, including an old-people’s centre, had their electricity cut off due to non-payment of electricity bills by Arrecife Council. The Arrecife Municipal Council is said to owe €180,000 to Endesa, the electricity company that supplied energy to the centres. The audiovisual company, Tecnosound Canarias which supplied lights, sound and stage equipment and personnel for Fiestas and other cultural events in the city, have also announced that they are suspending the supply of those services, due to non-payment of outstanding invoices. The Partido Popular, who are in opposition on the Arrecife Council, have also denounced that “half of the traffic lights are out-of-service and many streets are without lighting” amongst other complaints.
More delays for Playa Blanca Harbour Extension
The extension to the harbour in Playa Blanca has been hit with fresh delays because of a required environmental report relating to the presence of a protected seaweed, that was not detected during the environmental impact study. Although the construction area has been fenced-off and land works are underway, there are concerns that the delays will cause time-sensitive financing problems. The new pier will create a separate space for the two ferries that connect Playa Blanca with Fuerteventura, as well as a medium-sized cruise ship, and leave the existing harbour space for fishing and recreational use.
The closure of UK-Airline, Monarch, at the beginning of the month left thousands of British passengers stranded on the island. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority stepped in and organised what was described as the “biggest ever peacetime repatriation”, to fly over 100,000 people back to the UK at a cost of £60 million.