Confinement is causing havoc in the cultural sector, who lives from contact with the public and to whom the internet, in economic terms, does not solve anything. The bookstores have already opened but will suffer the effects of the previous closure and the progressive opening, so the Department of Culture of the Basque Government will buy more books for public libraries this year than in the previous one. Investment will rise from 680,000 in 2019 to 900,000 in 2020, which means an increase of 30%.
Volumes will be purchased in “Proximity libraries”, the councilor Bingen Zupiria advanced in a hearing in the Basque Parliament at his own request to report on the measures taken to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus on the numbers of the culture.
Also rwill strengthen the eLiburutegia offer, the public virtual library of the Basque Autonomous Community, to answer the exponential increase in demand, with the purchase of new licenses for digital loans and with more human resources for the group that manages the service.
82.6% of the cultural activities scheduled for March, April and May in the Basque Country have been affected by the health crisis, which has forced the postponement or suspension of most of these events, while record and book sales for this period have fallen 62.5%, according to Zupiria, who cited a report from the Basque Observatory for Culture.
Cancellation of contracts
The parliamentary debate addressed the 2.5 million allocated by the Government to cultural agents who have been affected by the cancellation of contracts, especially those who live from live shows, from actors and musicians to all kinds of technicians with fiscal residence in the Basque Country.
The game was already in the budgets, but it was reoriented to this end. Each worker will receive 70% of the monthly average of net income declared in the personal income tax of the previous year in the corresponding cultural or creative activity. Of course, the maximum money that each creator can receive will be 1,200 a month, and always while the alert status lasts.
The parliamentarian of the abertzale left Josu Estarrona criticized that to receive the aid you need to be registered in the Economic Activities Tax (IAE), when many of these workers sign temporary contracts that do not require that requirement, which leaves them out of this action.