President Quim Torra and the Minister of Culture, Mariàngela Vilallonga, proposed the first package of specific aid “to protect the cultural sector” on Friday against the consequences of coronavirus. They are measures as a line of 10 million euros in low interest for cultural companies, the non-revocation of grants already granted, the rescheduling of planned activities or guaranteeing the Department of Culture’s contributions to multiple cultural activities and events that have been canceled and cannot be rescheduled. Torra and Vilallonga had a telematic meeting with industry representatives today to discuss the measures. These have signaled the need to launch shock plans with specific funds.
Torra and Vilallonga have submitted to the sector twenty proposals (which will need to be approved by the Government) to address the consequences of coronavirus. However, the chief executive insisted to representatives of the sector that “the urgency of today is human life”, although he conceded that “two eyes” should be had.
For grants and other financial instruments already granted, the proposal is that the aid of this 2020 will not be revoked even if the object of the grant has not been produced (due to cancellation or deferment). The beneficiaries will not be required to justify a minimum expense made with the public contribution and the deadlines established for carrying out the activity or justification of the grants granted would be extended. The terms and conditions of return of refundable contributions, for example, will also be more flexible.
With regard to new lines of aid, the Government will propose to adopt two additional lines of action to minimize specific lines of aid that will partially offset the lost profits of companies and entities in different cultural sectors. Increase transfers and subsidies to entities participating by the Department of Culture that manage cultural facilities so that they can maintain their employment to the maximum.
In the other hand, It intends to guarantee the contribution of the Department of Culture to all kinds of cultural events, activities and strategic markets, with the aim of avoiding additional harm to the contracted companies, mitigating the fall in contracts and the impact on the event’s employees and external suppliers.
For cultural companies, the proposal is for the Catalan Finance Institute (ICF) to offer a loan of 10 million euros to provide liquidity, with amounts ranging from 20,000 to 300,000 euros, with a return period of five years.
In the other hand, five of the 20 support measures in the sector are aimed at the world of libraries, essentially reinforcing the line dedicated to the purchase of books by the Library of the Generalitat de Catalunya (SAP), maintaining the SAB procurement calendar to help minimize the impact of Covid-19 on the book sector and increase e-book licensing, to meet current demand on eBiblio, which has exceeded 500%.
All of these grants would add to the general support measures for the economic sectors already announced by both the State and the Government, and which can also benefit the cultural world, such as the deferral of tax debts, the extraordinary termination benefit. of activity due to the alarm status for self-employed workers, equivalent to 70%, etc.
Virtual meeting with the sector
According to the Government, representatives of the cultural sphere appreciated the support and commitment of the same executive and the measures proposed at the meeting, but stressed the need to implement shock plans with sector-specific funding, to recover activity after the crisis caused by covid-19. They have also requested to ensure that the activities planned for this 2019-2020 season can be rescheduled before the end of the year and that they are not canceled.
The meeting was also telematically attended by: the President of the Catalan Film Academy, Isona Passola; the president of ADETCA, Isabel Vidal; the president of PROA, Raimon Masllorens; the President of the Association of Professional Actors and Directors of Catalonia, Alex Casanovas; the President of the Athenian Federation, Pep Morella; the President of the Federation of Colles Castelleres, Roger Gispert; the President of the Academy of Music, Gerard Quintana; the President of the Book Chamber of Catalonia, Patrici Tixis; the director of the Association of Phonographic and Videographic Producers and Publishers of Catalonia, Eva Faustino; the president of the Catalan Language Publishers Association, Montse Ayats; the president of the Association of Writers in Catalan, Bel Olid; the director of the MNAC, Pepe Serra; TNC’s manager, Mònica Campos; the President of the CoNCA, Vinyet Panyella; the President of the Artist Assembly Platform of Catalonia, Montserrat Moliner; the President of the Association of Dance Professionals of Catalonia, Xevi Dorca; the manager of the Association of Circus Professionals of Catalonia, Cristina Tascón, and the director of the La Pedrera Foundation, Marta Lacambra.