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

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


SPAIN: Opinion Poll shows 72% support for basic income in Catalonia Region

SPAIN: Opinion Poll shows 72% support for basic income in Catalonia Region

72.3% of the the Catalan population would be in favor of a universal basic income of 650 euros per month, an opinion poll recently concluded.

While a clear majority (72.3%) support basic income, 20% of the participants said they rather disagreed with the proposal and 7.6% had no opinion. The concept of basic income was presented as “an income of 650€/month distributed to all the population as a right of citizenship, that would be financed by a fiscal reform that would imply a redistribution of income from the richest 20% to the rest of the people”.

The survey (pdf), based on answers from 1,600 people from Catalonia was conducted last July by the company Gesop for Red Renta Basica, the BIEN network in Spain.This survey confirms the growing support for basic income across the European population; similar surveys in France showed 60% support and in Finland 80%.

While all socioeconomic and demographic segments of the population showed a majority in support of implementing a universal basic income, the strongest support is found among Leftists (82%) and Centre-Leftists (73%) and the Right (64%). The weakest support for UBI is found among the Centre-Right (56.2%) and the Centre (62.7%).

High-income categories are also more reluctant to support the idea. As shown by the survey, nearly 30% of people who earn more than 1,500 euros a month are against the measure, versus 11.7% of those who earn less than 250 euros or 15.4% of those who earn less than 500.

The survey indicates that a clear majority of people (86.2%) would keep working as usual if they had a basic income, which clearly contradicts the usual critique that basic income would remove work incentives. Only 8% of the participants said they would work less, and 2.9% said they would stop working altogether.

People would keep working

Among workers who said they would work fewer hours or would leave their current occupation, 52.2% say they would dedicate the free time gained to their family, 16.3% would increase their leisure time, 11.5% would look for a better job, 11.3% would study. Another 4.7% would start a business and 4.1% would do more volunteering.

Regarding the unemployed, 84.4% said that nothing would change; they would keep looking for a job, while 11.4% would look for a part-time job. Only 2.2% would stop looking for a job.

Among the ‘inactive population’ (pensioners and students), 71.7% would not change their situation, while 14% would look for new activities on top of their current ones. 4.3% would leave their current occupation and focus on something else.

Credit picture CC Lutor44

VIDEO: 8 al dia amb Josep Cuní , “With a basic income poverty disappears, by definition [Amb una renda bàsica desapareix, per definició, la pobresa]”

Daniel Raventós on 8TV

Daniel Raventós on 8TV

In this interview, Daniel Raventós defines basic income and describes the most recent study for its implementation in Spain, done with other experts on the subject.


Language: Catalan

8 al dia amb Josep Cuní, “With a basic income poverty disappears, by definition [Amb una renda bàsica desapareix, per definició, la pobresa]“, 8 TV, March 9 2015