Spain has approved a plan for 18-year-olds to receive €400 (£335) in culture vouchers to spend on the arts. The vouchers can be spent on festivals, events, books, vinyl, and digital music.
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The Youth Cultural Bonus was officially approved last Wednesday (March 23) by Spain’s council of ministers in hopes of restoring cultural and creative industries that have suffered during the ongoing pandemic.
Recipients will have one year to spend the digital voucher, a €200 (£170) spending cap on live events and festivals, a €100 (£85) cap for physical products such as vinyl, and a €100 cap for digital products. Food, textbooks, and instruments can’t be bought using cultural vouchers.
The official Spanish government website states: “Following the example of nearby countries, such as France or Italy, where similar initiatives are already being practised for young people who turn 18, the Youth Cultural Bonus is intended for those people who reach the age of majority in the calendar year in which it is requested.”
The statement continued: “The Youth Cultural Voucher project seeks to facilitate universal and diversified access to culture for young people, generate new habits of cultural consumption and strengthen existing ones, create new audiences, stimulate demand and reduce the negative impact caused by the pandemic on various cultural sectors in our country.”
They also shared that they hoped the vouchers would “promote loyalty that generates the habit of consuming cultural products in young people so that, as adults, they continue to consume cultural products regularly.”
Similar plans to increase cultural spending have taken place in both France (€300) and Italy (€500).
Last year, the Spanish government scrapped visa requirements for UK artists touring the country post-Brexit, in a deal hailed as “a big victory”.
This news came after figures from the music industry spoke to NME about how new visa rules, as well as prohibitive costs and admin rules, meant that many UK artists could no longer afford to tour in Spain – cutting off one of the biggest markets for UK talent.
“We are delighted that our hard work has paid off and the Spanish Government has agreed to lift the restrictive visa process for touring artists, ending the complicated and painful process of expensive visa applications,” Craig Stanley, Chair of the LIVE Touring Group, commented at the time.
He added: “A whole host of people came together both here and in Spain to fix this situation and this shows what we can achieve as an industry when we work together.”