Spain announces €400 culture pass ‘birthday gift’ for teens turning 18

Spain announces €400 culture pass 'birthday gift' for teens turning 18
Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Teenagers turning 18 in 2022 will receive a €400 culture pass to spend on anything from books, concerts and cinema tickets, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced Wednesday.

Speaking at Ljubjana’s EU-Western Balkans summit, Sánchez said the measure would improve young people’s access to culture, and at the same time, help the Spanish culture industry, which has suffered great financial losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The announcement comes just a few days after the government announced it would launch a housing scheme that would give 18 to 35 year-olds mid-income earners a monthly €250 discount off their rent.

Both measures were announced as part of the Spanish government’s agreed budget for 2022, although this still needs to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet in its meeting on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Spain to give young mid-income earners €250 monthly rental allowance

It follows similar legislation in Italy and France, where governments have distributed €500 and €300 bonuses respectively for young people to spend on culture.

Ione Belarra, leader of junior coalition party Unidas Podemos and minister of Social Rights, said the culture pass was her party’s proposition. “The budget agreement will include a youth culture pass, after a proposal by Unidas Podemos,” she said in a tweet.

Vice-president Yolanda Díaz, leader of Unidas Podemos, said that “supporting the arts and young people’s futures was an essential condition in the budget, which must act as an impulse for culture”.

Who will be eligible for the culture pass?

The money will be allocated to all young people from the moment they turn 18 years old, starting in 2022.

The Culture and Sports Ministry, in charge of rolling out the new scheme, which will cost €200 million, calculates half a million young people will be eligible across the country.

What can the culture pass be used for?

The money, said Sánchez, can be spent on things like buying books or going to the cinema, the theatre and live concerts.

However, the money will be divided into different sections, so not all of it is spent just on books, for example. Precise details of how many sections it will be divided into have not yet been announced. It’s also not yet clear whether the pass will be used with an app, like in France and Italy, or a different system.

After Sánchez initially said the culture pass would include bullfighting, Spain’s Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta, later said it would not be covered, and neither will subscriptions to streaming platforms, according to Cadena Ser.

On the other hand, young adults will be able to use the culture pass to buy video games.

Iceta added that: “it’s like an 18th birthday present, and I would love it if they spent it at the opera or a classical music concert.”


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