The Government has approved a relief plan on Tuesday € 31 million for culture, with the aim of alleviating the economic impact of the COVID-19 shutdown is having in the industry, which has forced theaters, cinemas, concert halls, museums, libraries or archives to close, and canceled courses, festivals, Easter passions, and postponed appointments like Book Day. The initiative, included in the web ‘Rescue Plan’ at the address of the Ministry of Culture, includes lines of loans, subsidies, compensation lines for economic impact, aid for the reduction of income, items for the purchase of books and library rights and direct contributions to public facilities that had to lower the blind.
Specifically, the ICF-Culture and Liquidity line of credit is endowed with 10 million euros and can be requested in amounts ranging from € 20,000 to € 300,000, returnable at 5 years and with the first year of grace, so that only interest is paid. At this moment There are more than 80 applications, which are expected to be formalized this week.
The Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises (ICEC) will evaluate the eligibility of projects and a mechanism has been established with the Catalan Institute of Finance (ICF) to streamline the granting procedure.
To help pay the first year’s interest on the aforementioned line of credit, the ‘Line of Interest COVID’ grant is created through ICEC. The intention is to inject liquidity through a loan free of charge during the first year of the crisis. The planned amount is 350,000 euros.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Culture, through its entities, will convene several lines of extraordinary support to alleviate the negative effects of the cessation of cultural activity due to the state of alarm . These are direct grants that can be used by all regular recipients of the subsidy lines called by the Department.
The most immediate impact
Specifically, three lines are expected. The first is the ‘Impact COVID’ line, which empowers ICEC to make available to companies a line with 8 million euros to address the immediate impact of the crisis. This line will help finance expenses incurred during the crisis period from the closing day and include expenses for structure, services, rents or payment of dues.
The intention is create several sections of justifiable spending so as not to leave out even small businesses or the largest ones. The forecast is to convene the line ‘Impact COVID’ in June and not rule out more than one call.
From the Office of Cultural Initiative Support (OSIC), a direct line of aid is launched to offset expenses incurred during the alarm state. This line is aimed at non-profit organizations and will amount to 3 million euros. The application period will be open until the last quarter of the year and will be compatible with regular grants.
The third line of subsidy, also managed by the OSIC, will focus on the reduction of revenue from the cancellation of cultural activities and the suspension of contracts at cultural facilities. This line, of 2 million euros, is aimed at those who have canceled their cultural activity of performing arts and music, professional visual arts projects, activities contracted by libraries, museums, restoration of personal property and in archeological and paleontological intervention work, and pay-per-view popular culture activities, as well as paid-entry performing arts, music and visual arts festivals. The grant will be variable depending on the amount of losses credited.
Support for libraries
The Ministry of Culture also launches two aid for the purchase of books for public libraries totaling more than 4 million euros. The Library Acquisition System receives 2.2 million for publishing libraries in Catalan in Catalan.
In addition, the city councils receive 1.7 million in grants for the purchase of books and newspapers for libraries. Finally, € 120,000 is spent on the purchase of e-books.
The Ministry of Culture’s Rescue Plan website also collects the extraordinary contributions to lost funds of 4 million euros for cultural facilities that are linked to the Generalitat and have seen how the collection for public assistance has been canceled because they have had to close the doors.
Equity funded actions
To protect the cultural fabric and contribute to the resumption of the sector, the plan that has been implemented includes numerous actions funded by the Ministry of Culture and its own resources, which are covered in four sections.
The ‘Rescue Plan’ website includes a section with a complete offer of the cultural agenda related to the different facilities linked to the Department. The website collects the measures of the Department of Culture, but also has a block to consult the measures of interest for the cultural sector that have been elaborated by other departments of the Generalitat, the state administration and those of city councils and councils.
Thus, it includes emptying into a universal directory of measures that may be of interest to cultural creators and businessess. The evolution of the economic impact of the crisis on culture can be followed in a section that contains data and indicators, such as ERTOS that have affected the sector with the number of workers and companies affected. There are also measures announced earlier, such as the adaptation of regulations to make the granting of some subsidies more flexible based on the new needs detected.
Much of the rest of the proposed actions are covered by ordinary endowments. In the coming days, new packages of measures will be created and resources allocated from the budget restructuring will be allocated.