Spain, Sánchez government increases culture funding by 10%, also +12% for museums and +7% for libraries

The socialist government led by Pedro Sánchez increased funding for culture by 10% and museums by 12%, also lowers vat on ebooks and digital printing to 4%

Spain’s 2019 begins with full-bodied investments in culture: the government led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented in these hours the 2019 State Budget, which includes a 10 percent increase in allocations for culture. Funds are thus increased from 869 million euros in 2018 to 953 in 2019 (in Italy, to give an idea, the Ministry of Culture’s 2018 budget amounted to about 1.7 billion euros). In absolute terms, the government’s spending on culture relative to the total state budget rises from 0.2 percent in 2018 to 0.3 percent in 2019 (this is about the same percentage as in Italy where, according to the 2018 budget forecast, spending on culture accounted for 0.28 percent of the state budget). The El País newspaper offered some terms of comparison with other spending items: for example, it cited education, which is worth 0.7 percent of the budget, defense, which is worth 2.4 percent, and pensions, which amount to 40.9 percent.

That’s not all: the government also kicked off the lowering ofVAT on ebooks and digital printing, which will be reduced from 21 percent to 4 percent. So, from this year in Spain ebooks and electronic newspapers are fully equalized with their paper counterparts. In addition, 3.5 million euros will be invested to purchase books for public libraries. Among the increases are a 19.7 percent increase for the Fondo de Protección a la cinematographía, which is being endowed with 85 million euros this year, and a +12.5 percent for museums, which will benefit from 178.13 million euros for 2019, up from 157.78 in 2018 (there will also be a special fund of 9 million going to the Prado for its bicentennial celebrations and work to expand the Salón de Reinos). Plus sign also for libraries, with an increase of 7.66 percent (from 47 to 50.6 million), for archives (+2.54 percent, from 27.6 to 28.3 million), for support to cultural industries (+37.83 percent, from 14.17 to 19.53 million) for preservation and restoration of cultural heritage (+5.84%, from 21.25 to 22.49 million), for music and dance (+0.97%, from 100.74 to 101.72 million) and for theater (+2.3%, from 51 to 52.28 million).

There are only two items that decrease: these are spending on book promotion, which decreases by 2.2 percent, from 8.17 million euros in 2018 to 7.99 in 2019, and the item earmarked for the protection of the historical heritage, which registers a -2.28 percent, from 8.34 to 8.15 million euros.

However, El País also points out that the investment in culture of the PSOE (the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party)-led government is higher than any presented in the years when Spain was administered by the PP, the Popular Party (center-right) of Mariano Rajoy. However, the 2019 PSOE government’s spending on culture is 100 million euros less than what the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero made in 2011, when 1.05 billion euros was allocated to culture. The record was in 2009, when spending on culture was 1.284 billion euros.

Pictured: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Ph. Credit Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

Spain, Sánchez government increases culture funding by 10%, also +12% for museums and +7% for libraries
Spain, Sánchez government increases culture funding by 10%, also +12% for museums and +7% for libraries

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