Carpenters, shoemakers, goldsmiths and mechanics. The CGIA alarm: "300,000 shutters lowered in ten years"
Carpenters, shoemakers, photographers, up to mechanics and goldsmiths. Weakened by the rental boom, taxes, insufficient generational turnover, the contraction in turnover caused by the historical competition from large-scale retailers and, for some years now, also by electronic commerce, the artisans are dwindling in a frightening way. In the last 10 years, in fact, the number of owners, members and artisan collaborators registered with INPS has dropped by almost 300,000 units, to be precise 281,9251. It is a continuous hemorrhage that is affecting, in particular, traditional craftsmanship, the one that with its presence, history and culture has marked, until a few decades ago, many streets of our cities and provincial towns. To say it is the Research Office of the CGIA.
With shutters down, more insecure cities
It is enough to carefully observe the suburban neighborhoods and historic centers to realize that there are many signs that have been removed and just as many are the shop windows that are no longer set up, perpetually dirty and with the shutters down. They are an unequivocal sign of the deterioration of the quality of life in many urban realities. Cities, in fact, are not made up only of squares, monuments, buildings and asphalt strips, but also of places of exchange where people meet even just to have a chat. These micro-activities preserve the identity of a community and are an extraordinary safeguard capable of strengthening the social cohesion of a territory. In short, with fewer shops and neighborhood shops, the places for socializing on a human scale decrease and everything turns gray, making the urban areas that suffer from these closures less livable and more insecure, penalizing above all the elderly. An increasingly large audience of the Italian population which counts more than 10 million over 70s. Often not having a car and without shops next door, for many of them, shopping has become a big problem.
Many trades at risk of extinction
According to the photo taken by the CGIA, there are many artisan crafts on the verge of extinction and the causes that have caused this situation are many: first of all, the purchasing behavior of consumers has changed, then new technologies have pushed many manual and the culture of throwaway has had the upper hand over all the others, penalizing, in particular, those who had made the reuse and repair of objects and equipment a profession. In summary, reports the CGIA Research Office, the traditional crafts in decline are: car repairers (painters, sheet metal workers, mechanics, etc.), shoemakers; framers; blacksmiths; carpenters; photographers; stuffed animals; tinsmiths; dry cleaner; mattresses; goldsmiths; watchmakers; leather goods; restorers; embroiderers; appliance repairers; tailors; plasterers; upholsterers; printers.
On the other hand, however, the artisan sectors that are experiencing a phase of important expansion are those of the areas belonging to well-being and information technology. In the former, for example, a sharp increase in hairdressers, beauticians, masseurs and tattoo artists continues to be recorded. In the second, however, there is a marked expansion of system analysts, web marketing workers, video makers and social media experts. Unfortunately, the increase in these activities is insufficient to compensate for the number of closures present in the historic craftsmanship, with the result that the number of artisans is constantly decreasing.
Craftsmanship must be protected, according to Art. 45 of the Constitution
According to the CGIA Research Office, it cannot be excluded that in order to avoid the desertification of the shops underway, especially in the historical centres, in a few decades the State will have to support with direct funding those who want to open a craft or commercial activity. Otherwise it will be very difficult for someone to start a small business spontaneously. Before reaching this point of no return, craftsmanship should be protected, as required by Article 45 of the Constitution. Some interesting initiatives were tested during Covid. Many municipalities, for example, have taken on the costs for home delivery of products purchased in small shops. More generally, however, local taxes (Imu, single patrimonial fee, Tari, Irpef, etc.) should be eliminated for these proximity activities and negotiation tables activated at the municipal level, between the associations representing owners and craftsmen , with the aim of finding agreements that guarantee the landlords who adhere to the initiative the possibility of benefiting from a series of economic concessions which in part should be "passed on" to the lessee, reducing the rent. To do all this, of course, the central State would have to transfer the necessary resources to the Municipalities each year to cover their expenses.
The collapse concerned, in particular, Teramo, Vercelli and Lucca. At national level, only Naples bucked the trend. The provinces most affected by the reduction in the number of artisans were Rovigo (-2,187 equal to a change of -22.2 per cent), Massa-Carrara (-1,840 equal to -23 per cent) , Teramo (-2,989 equal to -24.7 per cent), Vercelli (-1,734 equal to -24.9 per cent) and Lucca (-4,945 equal to -25.4 per cent). Of the 103 provinces monitored in the last decade, only Naples recorded a positive variation (+58 equal to +0.2 per cent).