The Generalitat cuts funds for guaranteed income in the budgets

  • 62% of families living in severe poverty in Catalonia are excluded from this social benefit because they work

  • The ‘Minister’ of Social Rights, Violant Cervera, relies on a central government injection of 300 million euros

The Generalitat’s budgets for 2022, pending approval, They cut by almost 30 million the funds allocated to the Guaranteed Citizenship Income (RGC) regarding what was executed during the year 2020 and what is planned for 2021. This is one of the most important benefits in Catalonia which, until the appearance of the Minimum Living Income, was the only social aid left to unemployed people who had stopped collecting unemployment. As it is considered a subjective benefit, people who meet the criteria must also collect it, although the ‘councilor’ Cervera will have to get extra money from the Government’s accounts to guarantee it. According to a report, made at the request of the Generalitat, only 38% of families living in severe poverty in Catalonia can receive this benefit.

In less than two years, after a global pandemic and a chronic situation since the financial crash, the poverty data in Catalonia has escalated to unprecedented conditions. One in four Catalans lives below the poverty line, and in the case of minors the figure rises to one in three. This scenario has had a direct impact on the accounts of the Guaranteed Citizenship Income. In 2020 the Government executed 427 million (39 million more than budgeted) to grant this aid. In the 2021 accounts, given the flood of requests, 430 million euros were budgeted to give these benefits. However, the accounts for 2022, presented last Friday by the ‘councilor’ of Drets Socials, reduce this contribution to 400 million euros.

Of these 400 million, 300.65 are destined to the unemployed who have exhausted the subsidy and the rest (99.35 million) will be used for supplement other state pensions that do not reach 600 euros per month. In September 2021, there were 53,600 households that depended on the first aid and 49,000 on the second. The aid that undergoes the cut in the budgets are those that are destined to the unemployed without income, since in 2020 335.15 million euros were executed in this item (35 million more) while the money for accessories rises by 7 million.

The worst IMV coverage in Catalonia

This strategy of the Generalitat responds to the appearance of the Minimum Living Income as a new social benefit. “We are working on a management agreement with the Ministry [de Seguridad Social] so that they contribute 350 million more and be able to reach the figure of 650 million euros “, said the ‘councilor’ Violant Cervera in the Parliament. Theoretically, with this new state aid, Drets Socials should only complement the aid provided by the Central Government for disadvantaged families. However, in reality Catalonia is the community with the least application of the IMV. Only 4.9% of households below the poverty line collect it, while in other communities the rate exceeds 20%, according to a study by the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services.

The working poor

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For years, NGOs have struggled so that, far from these cuts, the economic contribution of the RGC is expanded in Catalonia. They ask for a modification of the law that includes more assumptions and that it reaches all the homes that need it. According a report commissioned by the Generalitat from Iválua’s public consultancy in 2020 62% of households in a situation of severe poverty You cannot receive this benefit. Mostly, because some of its members work. The same report suggests that Catalan law should be modified so that precarious workers can access this aid. To address these changes, the Generalitat will meet in the coming days the Government Council of Guaranteed Income in an extraordinary way, made up of a representation of the Table of Third Sector Entities, unions CCOO and UGT, in addition to the employers.

Apart from the money for the WCR, Drets Socials budgets for 2020 grow 30% compared to 2020 thanks to European funds. The councilor herself acknowledged that many of the items are “insufficient.” For example, the money allocated to dependency, which grows by 150 million euros despite the fact that the sector has been demanding an extra 300 million for three years to provide “worthy” care.

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