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Catalonia (Spain): Catalonian Economy and Tax Office presents profound study on social policies, featuring basic income

(Image: Barcelona, “Queen” of the Mediterranean)

 

In the Spanish region of Catalonia, serious efforts are being made to reduce poverty and to reduce inequalities. Last week, on the 17th of November, the Catalan Economy and Tax Office presented a thorough study on social policies, which includes the contributions of 30 academics and other experts and technicians.

 

The document points out that current restrictions on the Catalan regional government public policies are stalling necessary changes, such as the implementation of more redistributive measures. This is due, in part, to the fact that the main tax revenue is managed by the Spanish State. The Catalan regional government is making attempts to address poverty and inequality, with the 2017 regional budget considered to be “the most social ever”.  Under the new budget, more tax will be collected from both large property transfers and non-productive assets, and put into a budget that surpasses all other previous budgets in terms of social spending (education, health and social affairs). Despite this, Catalan officials recognize that the government should do even more to reduce poverty and tackle inequalities.

 

Although Catalonia’s poverty rate (19%) is lower than the Spanish average (22,1%), it is still above the European Union’s average poverty rate (17,2%). Catalonia also faces a persistently high unemployment rate (11,2%), despite the economic recovery in recent years.

 

The document presented by the Economy and Tax Office in Catalonia recommends profound changes to the regional social benefits scheme, which has been inadequate in poverty alleviation and prevention. At one point, it refers to basic income as a possible solution to this structural social problem. The regional basic income would amount to an unconditional allowance of 7471 €/year for every adult citizen, plus a 1494 €/year for every child (under 18 years of age) in Catalonia.

 

According to the study, replacing all current benefits which are valued below the basic income amount would save around 90 thousand million euros per year, in 2010 numbers. The study also states that basic income would reduce inequalities and allow young people to enjoy a larger degree of freedom and emancipation.

 

Pere Aragonès, the regional Secretary for Economy in Catalonia, a region with 7,5 million inhabitants, said at the 17 November meeting that his department and the Tax Office and Employment, Social Affairs and Families one are working on the development of a new set of social progress indicators, which can complement the economic variables (such as GDP).

 

More information at:

Catalan News Agency, “Catalonia not able to fight poverty within the “autonomic framework”, report finds”, 17th November 2016

 

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 136 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

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7 comments

  • Miquel Strubell

    NO PER PUBLICAR!!

    “According to the study, replacing all current benefits which value is below the basic income amount would save around 90 thousand million euros per year,”

    1. Grammar!!!! Mal traduït o explicat, ho sento.

    2. It can’t be €90,000 million, surely! And wouldn’t replacing current benefits not INCREASE expenditure?

    • Kate McFarland Kate McFarland

      Yes, there seems to be a word or two missing (“replacing all current benefits which are valued below the amount of the basic income” is the idea). Thanks for catching that; I’ve edited the post.

      I’ve not read the original report myself, but the linked summary from the Catalan New Agency does state “the authors advocate for an ‘unconditional monetary allowance for all people’ of €7,471 per year for adults and €1,494 per year for children under 18. This income ‘would replace all the current benefits’ of lower amounts, representing ‘a saving of €92,222 million, according to 2010 data’.” It is ambiguous, but I would assume that that is the cost savings from eliminating the existing benefits in question, before taking into account the additional cost incurred by the UBI. This is brought up in the context of asking how the UBI would be financed (where the answer is, roughly, “Partly through taxation, but let’s not forget how much money we’ll free up by removing the need the for current programs”).

  • César

    Sorry, who is the “Catalan Ministry of Economy and Tax Office”? As far as I know there is no such a thing. The Ministry of Economy in Spain is Luis de Guindos and the Ministry of Taxes is Cristobal Montoro. Andreu Mas-Colell is the head of the Economic office in Cataluña. #JustToClarify

  • C Garcia

    Dear Andre,

    César is right, there is no Minister for Economy and Tax Office in Cataluña. The original article is not correct. In Spain we only use the term “Ministro” (ministry) for the central/state administration.

    The term used for the responsible of economy in Cataluña it is “conseller (in catalan)” or “consejero” (in spanish). The original article comes from a news agency that seems to be pro-independence of Cataluña and that is the only reason I find to explain that they use the term Minister, which confuses anyone who is not from Spain.

  • Rugienius Sagnes

    Basic income is a necessity in Catalogna as in Spain

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