Sunday 17 December 2017

Town will take 7,058 years to pay off debt from boom

Fiona Govan in Pioz

THE most indebted town in Spain will take 7,058 years to repay its debts, it was estimated yesterday.

Pioz, a town of 3,800 residents in the Guadalajara province of Castilla-La Mancha, racked up massive debts with a vast programme of overspending during the boom years when credit flowed and developers stampeded to put up housing estates they could never realistically hope to fill.

The town owes €16m in outstanding bills to suppliers and is one of 2,619 councils applying to the central government for help to meet repayments.

The town suffers 25pc unemployment, the national average, and at best estimates it could put aside €2,000 a year to pay outstanding debts after meeting the bare minimum of running costs.

Its empty houses -- an estimated 600 new builds lie vacant -- are being looted, an expression of discontent by the town's unemployed youth and opportunism by itinerant thieves.

Looting

Some three miles from the historic town centre, a gleaming €11m water-purification plant squats between fields of wheat lies abandoned because the council has no money left to operate the electric pumps to supply the plant or to pay the employees. As a result, the water supply to the town frequently cuts out.

A recycling centre next door, funded in part by a grant from the EU, likewise stands gleaming and vacant. "We couldn't finish the road to allow the trucks to reach the site with the rubbish. The whole project is useless," said a local.

So too is the swimming pool, which was opened in 2008 and came with a price tag of €2.3m. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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