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The furniture defends a way out in extremis against the coronavirus crisis (27/04/2020)

It is essential that the furniture and wood sector, with 130,000 companies and one million workers in Europe, of which 23,000 are Spanish and generate 3.6% of national industrial employment, receive the support of administrations and political groups in a formal way.

express and determined, not only for the business it involves but for the number of jobs it generates and the social benefit that this entails. In the Region of Murcia, the sector has 1,127 companies and contributes 7.8% to the national turnover, and more importantly, it accounts for 7% of industrial employment in our autonomous community. Furniture exports in Spain reached 2,318 million euros in 2019, increasing the 2018 figure by 4.7%.

The Region of Murcia in particular, with almost 81 million in its furniture exports, has rebounded in a not insignificant way 9.2% thanks to the efforts of the SMEs that comprise it. But this sectorial photograph would be very discolored if we did not mention the large number of auxiliary companies that make up this important cluster: textile, hardware, machinery companies ...

whose figures would have to be added to understand the seriousness of the scenario that concerns us in the short term.

and medium term. How is the furniture sector experiencing this pandemic situation? Companies have the possibility to work, but practically 90% of them have a clear impediment to do so.

Although at first the dependence on some supplies from abroad caused the alarm lights to go on, it was the subsequent closure that left us with no way to market our products. Trading with retail companies is totally unfeasible as all furniture stores, including shopping malls, are closed. The contract channel has been paralyzed by closing all public spaces that can be furnished with our products: hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. Foreign trade has been drastically reduced as it is a global crisis, and fundamentally European.

Europe is the largest buyer of Spanish furniture and its demand has clearly decreased. What is the immediate future before us? At an economic level, we are presented with a significant slowdown in private and business consumption, increased in our case by treating furniture as a durable consumer product. Families will have less purchasing power, a circumstance that affects us very directly.

Companies, especially those dedicated to tourism, due to the data they provide on the loss of income they are enduring, will have to redirect their investments in the furnishing of collective spaces, not to mention that they will have to eliminate them. Lacking a clear reopening schedule, even considering the possibility of the non-opening of hotels, restaurants, etc., until the end of 2020, inevitably leads us to manage our businesses blindly, without being able to invoice and with tremendous social charges, for the repercussion for this sector of the large amount of labor it occupies. This conjuncture obliges us, to strongly request the political groups to take into account the measures that we list below; all of them raised in the confidence that they understand that not all sectors are being affected equally by this global crisis, since the furniture and wood sector is deeply affected by Covid-19, and the failure to take adequate measures For the same, it can have a great negative impact for this important sector of the Murcian, national and European economy. Proposals for measures for the furniture sector INCENTIVATION OF DEMAND At the national level Reduction in personal income tax for investment in furniture. Iva reduced in furnishing products. Implementation of a national "renewal plan". Aid for renovation, updating of collective spaces: hotels, shops, restaurants ... On an international level -Support for export.

Search for new markets and maintenance of existing clients or markets.

Updated databases.

Actions at destination and origin (trade missions, fairs, etc.). -Expansion of coverage in the export collection guarantee insurance. In both cases, digital marketing support is required, as well as online sales. LABOR MEASURES Disappearance of legal insecurity motivated by the different Royal Decrees and their interpretations, as well as the resolution deadlines that result in approval by administrative silence and subsequent review. Discounts on quotes based on the situation of each company. Flexibility in ERTEs.

It is essential to be able to face the de-escalation by adequately managing the Human Resources of companies so as not to generate more complicated situations that would eventually lead to a loss of jobs. Work support measures until normal activity recovers.

For example, rewarding those companies that maintain their workforce or make new hires. Support for SMEs to adequately manage the prevention of occupational risks derived from situations such as Covid-19.

Preparation of sectoral protocols with the agreement of the companies whose first objective is to ensure the health of their workers, and who are the best experts in the idiosyncrasy of their productive space, for which their contribution is crucial. MEASURES OF A FISCAL NATURE Reducción y aplazamiento en el pago de impuestos. Deducción de inversiones productivas en el impuesto de sociedades. Desgravaciones de la base imponible de la cuota por la adecuación de las industrias a las exigencias derivadas de la Covid-19. MEDIDAS FINANCIERAS Agilización y facilitación de cobro y gestión de fondos ICO para garantizar la liquidez a las empresas en tiempo y forma. Por último, y conscientes de que esta situación es susceptible de volver a presentarse en el futuro las pymes, en su gran mayoría pequeñas y tradicionales en la gestión, han de tener apoyos para poder elaborar buenas estrategias de digitalización y teletrabajo que les permita continuidad en el negocio.

Source: Agencias

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