A virtual prepaid card with 400 euros to spend on culture that will be paid in a single payment from June. That is the format announced this Tuesday by the Government for the Youth Cultural Bonus, which can be enjoyed by those who turn 18 in 2022, some 500,000 people, according to estimates by the Executive of Pedro Sánchez. As planned, the Council of Ministers has approved this measure, which was reported at a press conference by the spokesperson and minister for Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, who specified that the amount allocated will be 210 million euros, a included in the General State Budget this year.
Of those 400 euros, half can be spent on a wide category of options, ranging from “tickets and subscriptions for performing arts, live music, cinema, museums, libraries, exhibitions and scenic, literary, musical or audiovisual festivals”, according to the approved royal decree. Another 100 euros will be for physical media, such as books; magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals; as well as video games, musical scores, records, CDs, DVDs or Blu-rays. Finally, the remaining 100 will be destined for “digital or online consumption: subscriptions and rentals to musical, reading or audio-reading, or audiovisual platforms, purchase of audiobooks or digital books, subscription to download multimedia files (podcast), subscriptions to online video games, or to digital press, magazines or other periodicals. Subscriptions will be limited to a maximum of four months.”
The objective of the bond, which Sánchez announced in October, is, on the one hand, “to generate the habit of consuming cultural products among young people” and, on the other, to help the battered cultural sector “after the negative impact caused by the pandemic” . In drafting the royal decree, the Ministry of Culture and Sports “has followed the experience of other countries, such as France [donde el bono es de 300 euros] and in Italy which also set the age of their beneficiaries at 18 years, considering that coming of age implies the possibility of inaugurating autonomy with regard to their decisions in the cultural field”, added the note from the department led by Miquel Iceta.
The text also specifies the activities that are excluded from the Youth Cultural Bonus: “The acquisition of stationery products; curricular textbooks, whether printed or digital; equipment, software, hardware and computer and electronic consumables; artistic material, musical instruments, sports and bullfighting shows; fashion and gastronomy. It will also not cover the purchase of products that have been “rated X or pornographic”.
For young people who want to benefit from this measure, a technological platform will be developed where they can submit their applications, “which will be processed in order of presentation.” Once the aid has been granted, “the amount will be paid in a single payment, in nominal virtual prepaid card format, which will be identified with a number and with the identity of the beneficiary”. The validity of this aid is 12 months from its granting. In the event that the beneficiary does not have a mobile device compatible with the virtual card, “exceptionally a physical card may be issued”, it is added. The bonus will be compatible with other aid or subsidies from other Administrations. Finally, it is specified that entities interested in providing this service must request it when the relevant call is published.
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The other important announcement of the day in cultural policy refers to an issue that has been pending for longer, the creation of a new “artistic employment contract”, framed in the Artist’s Statute. Rodríguez has indicated that it is about establishing “a special labor relationship, which is adapted to the legislation to modernize the concept of artistic activity”. Thus, in a group that is usually conditioned by intermittent and short-term jobs, the spokesperson minister stressed that “for the first time, people who work in technical and auxiliary activities, who do not belong to the fixed structure of companies in the sector, to recognize the rights of a group that has particularly suffered the consequences of the pandemic and that has also been greatly affected by fraudulent hiring. The purpose of the Government is “to combat the precariousness and the concatenation of seasonal contracts to transform them into indefinite ones.” Another aspect is that compensation is improved when a contract ends, which for all groups will be 12 days, but may reach 20 when the employment relationship exceeds 18 months.
The concept of artistic activity, in line with the new times, changes: now they are referred to as “the field of performing, audiovisual and musical arts, eliminating the outdated concept of artists in public shows.” It will also collect the legislation “artistic expressions in the web environment” and the new dissemination formulas, such as the streaming, broadcast online or podcast.