The Young Cultural Bonus announced by President Pedro Sánchez in the fall of 2021 will be launched at the end of this month. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Sports so that those who turn 18 have access to financial aid aimed at opening up their horizon of interests.
The ministry plans to announce today that interested young people will be able to start signing up during the last week of the month. The requirements: turn 18 (those born in 2004) and have Spanish nationality or legal residence in the country. To register you need to be registered in an electronic identity system such as the Digital Certificate, the DNIe or Cl@ve. The registration and management of the bonus will be done through of a web page and an app for that purpose. Once the aid has been granted, a virtual prepaid card will be received that will be used through the smartphone. An item of 210 million euros is available, designed to reach around half a million young people who, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), enter the adult world this year. There is for everyone.
Cultural companies and public institutions that provide services in Spain (theatres, museums, publishers, media, audiovisual platforms, newspapers, etc.) and that wish to join the program to offer their product to the new generations, will be able to do so from Monday 18 to through the Cultural Bonus website.
The aid, of 400 euros to spend for a year, is divided into three blocks: 100 euros for physical products (books, records, video games, etc), 100 euros for online products (platforms, online video games, ebooks, audiobooks, etc) and 200 euros for face-to-face activities (performing arts, concerts, cinema, museums, etc). “It’s about diversifying to encourage young people to get out of their comfort zone and try new things,” say ministry sources, “for example, so that, in addition to manga or video games, they can try going to the opera. Promote cultural emancipation”.
A similar initiative in France, the Pass Culturepromoted by the Macron government, ended up being nicknamed bonus sleeve, because the beneficiaries massively spent the aid on Japanese comics. There has also been a bonus culture in Italy, since, in 2016, the Executive of Matteo Renzi implanted it, just after the attacks in the Bataclan theater in Paris, to maintain the influx to the theaters and the shared cultural enjoyment.
The purpose of the Spanish Cultural Voucher is twofold: on the one hand, to create new audiences and encourage the cultural interest of young people, and on the other, to support the cultural industry that has been suffering the stakes of successive crises. During the last few months the ministry has been meeting with different associations and cultural companies to encourage their participation in the project. Among the requirements is the use of non-sexist language, avoiding discriminatory images of women and promoting the values of equality and diversity.
Since the launch of the initiative was announced, to the liking of the two government partners, PSOE and United We Can, the Cultural Bonus has generated some controversy. First, after the announcement by President Pedro Sánchez in the fall of 2021, it was described by the opposition as an electoral measure, aimed at capturing the vote of those who go to the polls for the first time in the next elections (the PP youth launched the campaign My vote is not bought).
But, above all, the controversy has revolved around what is included and what is not in the field of aid (or, as some saw it, around what we consider culture or not). For example, there was a debate about the aforementioned manga and video games, as if these cultural expressions did not have enough entity to be promoted from the public. “Of course, we must remember that each cultural modality has a limit, so that the entire bonus cannot be spent on the same type of products,” the aforementioned sources recall. Neither are textbooks, stationery, software, hardware or computer consumables, musical instruments or sports events included in the subsidy. Not everything related to pornography.
Another notorious debate was about whether bullfighting shows should be offered within the program. The Fundación Toro de Lidia threatened to go to court and accused the government of “cultural censorship” and “ideological discrimination” if the bulls were excluded. Finally, bullfighting has been left out (after the government backed down from its first positions, which included them). “But not only bullfighting, but also fashion or gastronomy, which can be considered culture”, clarify the ministerial sources, “in the end it was decided to bet on part of the cultural industries”.
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