Spanish city introduces basic income for vulnerable families

A Coruña, in Galicia, is the first authority in Spain to provide payment for households in poverty

Sonia Vizoso
Mayor Xulio Ferreiro of left-leaning Marea Atlántica (Atlantic Tide) party.
Mayor Xulio Ferreiro of left-leaning Marea Atlántica (Atlantic Tide) party.Cabalar (EFE)

At a time when half of Spain’s four million unemployed receive no welfare payment from the state, the Spanish city of A Coruña has taken the initiative in providing vulnerable families with a basic income.

After eight months’ preparation, Mayor Xulio Ferreiro of the left-leaning minority administration of the Marea Atlántica (Atlantic Tide) party, in the capital city of the northwestern province of Galicia, announced on Monday that he had garnered cross-party support for a measure that will pay between €532 and €1,064 per month to around 1,000 families.

A Coruña City Hall says there was a 50% increase in the number of homes there living in poverty between 2011 and 2013

The monthly payments will be made available to people registered on the electoral roll, and whose monthly household income is less than €1,064 a month, or €532 in the case of people living alone and who are not in receipt of any other state payments such as pensions. Recipients will be required to attend retraining courses during the maximum 18 months the payment will be made to them.

The regional government of Galicia introduced a payment to some 12,000 families living in poverty in 2007, but A Coruña’s social affairs department says that half of those living in the city who applied for the payment in 2014 were turned down. It adds that there was a 50% increase in the number of households living in poverty between 2011 and 2013.

Undocumented migrants in A Coruña will not be eligible for the payment. “The legal framework we have to operate in doesn’t permit it. We will look for other ways, other programs to attend to these people,” said Silvia Cameán, the city’s social affairs counselor.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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