The autonomous communities dedicate less and less percentage of their budgets to social policies, according to the report published this Monday by the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services. Thus, if in 2010 67.4% of public accounts were allocated to social spending – that is, education, health and social services -, in 2022 it will be reduced to 58.8%, according to the study of this organization. after analyzing data from the Ministry of Finance. This does not mean that less money is invested (which in fact has increased in recent years, going from 111.8 billion euros to 139.1 billion), but rather that these areas occupy less and less weight in public accounts, as explained by José Manuel Ramírez. , president of the association. “The most worrying thing is that communities increasingly have more budgets for the development of their policies, they are the ones who have to guarantee social protection systems, and they dedicate less and less percentage to the welfare state,” he criticizes. The report also points out important differences in the investment of the autonomies, with Navarra leading spending per inhabitant in 2022 (3,901 euros) and Madrid at the bottom (2,399 euros).
The association, which has published this report since 2010, annually carries out an analysis of the evolution of spending on social policies. Precisely, 2010 is the year of all those who have studied in which a greater percentage of the public accounts of the autonomies dedicated to social policies was reached. During this period, the impact of an economic crisis has been felt, resulting in harsh cuts. Starting in 2014, increases were recorded in the budgets of all the autonomies.
The report analyzes the liquidated budget annually, except in 2022, when the final budget is studied, in the absence of information on what was actually liquidated. The pandemic gave a boost to investment in policies such as health. “Although the health and social crisis caused by Covid-19 demonstrated the importance of spending on essential public services such as health, education and social services, the increase in spending on these policies managed by the autonomous communities has only been 13.5%. between 2019 and 2022″, the association points out in a press release, “while the increase in spending on the rest of the policies in that same period was 41%, three times more.” This, according to this organization, “evidence the loss of specific weight of social spending in the autonomous communities.”
There is another aspect that equally worries this association. “There is great territorial inequality in terms of the development of social policies. Living in Madrid is not the same if you need a system of education, health and public social services, than living in a community like the Basque Country or Navarra, where the budget is much larger,” explains Ramírez. The average dedicated to social spending in the country as a whole was 2,939.8 euros per inhabitant in 2022. In Madrid they spent 540 euros less than the average, with 2,399.3 euros. It is the community that is at the bottom, along with Catalonia (2,781.7 euros per inhabitant) and Andalusia (2,792.1). The ranking is led by Navarra (3,901.1 euros), the Basque Country (3,708.1) and Extremadura (3,629.2).
Ramírez places special emphasis on the case of Catalonia. In the country as a whole, between 2009 (the year before the cuts began to be applied, as highlighted by the president of the association) and last year, the amount for social policies increased by 19%. The largest increase was recorded in the Balearic Islands, with 48%. In Catalonia, on the other hand, the increase was only 4.7%. What’s more, if the investment per inhabitant per year is studied, Catalonia is the only autonomy that has not recovered the budget for social policies prior to the 2010 cuts. In 2022 it invested 6.38 euros less per inhabitant in these three areas than in 2009. Madrid is the next worst off community, with an increase of 167.8 euros. The autonomies that top the list were the Valencian Community (with 855 euros more), Navarra (829.9 more) and Asturias (823.6 more). “To talk about equality, it is best that the budgets match the speeches. The welfare state guarantees equality between citizens. The differences between communities are enormous,” says Ramírez.
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