The Cercle has considered it appropriate for the entity to regularly express its opinion in the face of significant events that shape or impact the cultural sector. If it is an important issue this opinion will take the form of a statement or manifesto. That is why it has also created a specific commission open to all members who want to participate in its drafting. We encourage you to sign up.
As the Commission sets in motion in the coming weeks, two announcements have been made that deserve – at least briefly – comment and the establishment of the Circle’s position.
And, during these first days of October we have witnessed a double positive announcement – one from the state government and the other from the Generalitat – which are two things we have always demanded: greater centrality of the cultural policies and better funding of the cultural sector.
The Culture Bonus 18 years
A few days ago, the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced the introduction of the cultural bonus of 400 euros for boys and girls who will turn 18 in 2022. The media has echoed this, but we will add some additional information and reflection. At the state level, this means a forecast of around 454,000 beneficiaries and an endowment of over 181 million euros; of which in Catalonia it represents more than 81,000 people with an endowment of over 32 million euros. There are still to be detailed both the mechanics of operation we will follow it closely. This measure has three virtualities: indirect financing through the consumption of cultural productions and services; the ritual nature of associating adulthood with culture and an iconic statement about the importance of culture to society. As mentioned, it was Mateo Renzi who first established it in Italy in 2016 with an amount of 500 euros and all subsequent governments have maintained it. France has subsequently done so for less than 300 euros. We know that over the course of 5 years, one in three young people has used it in Italy. Only two final observations: this idea was already conceived in Catalonia around the year 2000, when we led the elaboration and innovation in cultural policies; it is essential to substantially and quickly improve the current situation. The second question: we would have liked this measure to have been agreed between the state and -in our case- the Generalitat to (re) initiate a path of cooperation that is absolutely necessary to maximize the potential of the Catalan cultural sector.
If you want to expand on the information and reflections on this measure, the OECD Public Sector Innovation Observatory has recently published a report. You can check it out here.
The increase in the budget of the Department of Culture of the Generalitat
On October 5 at the Teatre Romea in the presentation of the new project of the Focus Group, Àfora, President Pere Aragonés, before Minister Natàlia Garriga, made the unequivocal announcement that the next budget of the Generalitat – currently in process of elaboration- would contain a significant increase of the endowment of Department of Culture. We must keep in mind that the maximum level of 350 million euros in 2010 was reduced to about 245 and then increased very moderately. We all have in mind the very commitment of the cultural sector and its associations to reach 2% culture. This goal is currently unlikely, but an endowment close to 400 million euros would be a very significant step in this direction. We look forward to good news.
October 18, 2021