The Government Increases 2020 Budget by €795 Million to Strengthen the Ministry of Health and Meet New Urgent Needs Arising from COVID-19
The Government has approved several measures to confront Covid-19, such as the strength of the budget of the Ministry of Health to meet new urgent needs arising from the pandemic. The amount allocated is €795 million from accounts of 2020 of the Catalan Government. This increase of public accounts corresponds to the resources for Catalonia of the COVID-19 Extraordinary Fund, created to finance the impact of the pandemic.

According to the Minister of the Presidency and Government spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, this is the third budget increase of Covid-19 Fund, after the first in July (€1,230 million) and the second in September (€354 million). In addition, last October the budget was boosted (€420 million) due to the approval of a reference rate for 2020 deficit (0.2% of GDP). Overall, the accumulated increase since July is €2,004 million, which will be €2,799 million with this new increase”.

Census of Responsible Culture Spaces

In the sector of culture, the Government has agreed to create, through a Decree-Law, the Census of Responsible Cultural Spaces, which will be given to cultural spaces if they adopt health protocols to prevent Covid-19 and commit to implement social inclusion programmes.

"Therefore, all the spaces that take part of the Census will obtain the distinction of "Space of Responsible Culture", visible in their facilities and a guarantee of security for the public." The distinctive, however, will remain in force post-COVID-19 and at the same time will provide added value to the space as a guarantee of the accessibility and universality of the culture.

The creation of the Census is part of the actions the Government is promoting to reactivate the activity in the cultural sector. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the aim has been to preserve culture in the face of new restrictions due to the health crisis caused by Covid-19 and to establish a series of actions that cover the cultural rights of citizens and industries and the creative sectors. The government spokesperson reminded that the Government declared on 22 September that culture is an essential asset for the integral development of the individual and collective personality.

The creation of a working group to reduce the terms to grant licenses and permits affecting the economic activity

The Government has approved the creation of a working group with local and social agents, led by the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, to make the process of granting licenses and permits easier. According to the spokesperson Meritxell Budó, one of the “collateral” effects of the pandemic has been the delay in granting licenses and permits related to the economic activity. A long and complex process that has been further delayed due to the suspension of deadlines caused by the state of alarm decreed in March.

The working group wants to optimize the terms of these procedures for granting permits, licenses and authorisations to carry out certain economic activities, especially those that have an impact on the environment, health and safety of people. These activities involve a high investment and, consequently, have a great impact on the economy, because they involve a significant number of workers. For example, certain types of industries, logistics centers, research and research laboratories or health centers, among others.

In particular, the working group will identify the procedures with the greatest impact on economic activity, have a particularly long completion period and will propose the organisational, technological or legal actions necessary to reduce these deadlines. Administrative procedures currently being processed as well as the rest of the activities and companies that, in the future, want to start a new activity in Catalonia will benefit from this measure.