In Spain, the government is attempting to help the cultural sector recover from the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council of Ministers announced that around 500,000 people who will turn 18 in 2022, can claim a virtual prepaid card of €400 to spend on cultural activities. A new law that should protect cultural professionals from fraud and guarantee their labour rights was also introduced.
Spanish youngsters that are interested in the voucher can expect the money to arrive in June. Half of the €400 euros can be spent on “tickets and subscriptions for performing arts, live music, cinema, museums, libraries, exhibitions, and scenic, literary, musical, or other festivals”, El País reported. Another €100 can be spent on books, magazines, newspapers, and other publications; as well as video games, music records, CDs, DVDs, or Blu-rays. The last €100 will be used for “digital or online consumption”, such as subscriptions to music platforms, audiobooks and other audiovisual platforms.
Protecting and stimulating culture
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez announced the voucher in October in order to repair some of the damage in the cultural sector caused by the pandemic. The cheque’s goal is to stimulate young people to invest more in cultural products and to help the sector recover. The concept is not new in Europe since other countries have similar initiatives, such as France (€300) and Italy (€500).
Not only youngsters can count on the support of the Spanish government. After many workers in the cultural sector were hit hard during the pandemic, the government now introduced an “artistic employment contract” as part of its national cultural policy. This contract will be used as a basis to create fair labour circumstances for people in the cultural sector who do not belong to a “fixed structure of companies”, a spokesperson of the Ministry explained. Because people in this group often work for different employers, their contracts are often violated.