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Why many people in Alicante feel cheated by the Spanish State

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Why many people in Alicante feel cheated by the Spanish State
Someone living in Soria, in Castilla y León, receives €1,104 per year from the state, whereas the amount received by Alicante residents is just €85 - an incredible thirteen times less. Photo: Pixabay.

A recent protest in Alicante has brought to light the fact that the Costa Blanca province receives less public investment than any other part of Spain, even though it's the fifth biggest GDP contributor. It now appears their voices are being heard.


Alicante residents may have noticed that there was quite a large protest in the city at the start of the month.

On November 3rd, over 2,000 Alicantinos demonstrated in the eastern city's Plaza de la Montañeta against the persistent underfunding of the province, with experts claiming the current model "will bury the future of the province of Alicante".

Demanding that the national government increase Alicante's allocation in the General State Budget, the protestors carried placards saying "Se acabó, Alicante se merece más" (That's enough, Alicante deserves better) and "Alicante no se humilla" (Alicante does not humiliate itself).

It's not the first protest of this kind in Alicante and it won't be the last either. 

For the second consecutive year the Costa Blanca province comes dead last in terms of public investment per inhabitant - which in Alicante is a meagre €85 per person. It's been referred to as the "worst budget in Alicante's history". 

A recent survey by Sigma Dos for El Mundo newspaper found that 65 percent of Alicantinos believe that their province receives less state investment than neighbouring Valencia and Castellón. 


Neglected by the State?

Underfunding in Alicante has long been a problem, hence the protest motto: 'That's enough.'

According to the Institute of Economic Studies of Alicante (Ineca), taking into account population, since 2008 the province of Alicante has had a deficit of €3.5 billion in state investment.

Alicante province's population is around 1.8 million, and when you factor in the so-called "floating population" of Alicante, as in people who have second homes there and the wave of tourists that arrive and put pressure on public infrastructure, the per-capita per-annum figure plummets to €56.

This is despite the fact that, according to Ineca, Alicante is the fifth most productive province in Spain in terms of contributing to GDP, behind only Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville.

Castellón, a province with 571,600 people, is set to receive more government investment than Alicante in 2023.

Someone living in Soria, in Castilla y León, receives €1,104 per year from the state, whereas the amount received by Alicante residents is just €85 - an incredible thirteen times less.

Across Spain, the average per capita investment is €282.74.

Jaén, the penultimate province in terms of per-capita spending, receives €110 per person compared to Alicante's €85.


"That's enough, Alicante doesn't humiliate itself"

The rally was well attended by Alicante's political and business communities, with a range of local politicians from PP, Ciudadanos and Vox showing their faces, including the mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, and the mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez. Spanish media reports suggest that there was no representative from the left (neither PSOE or Podemos) nor trade union organisations.

Yet the event was not an overtly political protest, rather a unifying demonstration that had all Alicantinos' interests at heart. As such, the event was attended by representatives from the public and private sector, including the CEV, Alicante's business federation, Ineca, and Aefa, the Alicante Association of Family Businesses. 

Carlos Baño, President of Alicante's Chamber of Commerce, struck a conciliatory, non-political tone. "We want to claim what Alicante deserves and nothing else, without any kind of political connotations," he said. "We just want to claim what belongs to the province... we want justice. We want solidarity with the province and that's it," he added.

Will anything change?

In Spain's 2023 national budget, investment is set to grow by 3.3 percent across the provinces but planned investment in Alicante was initially set to be cut by 12.3 percent compared to the previous year. This would've represented a reduction of 36.8 percent. 

As a result, there is another demo planned for Friday November 18th, where protestors will be saying loudly again: se acabó.

It has the support of Valencian regional president Ximo Puig, who will also talk in a plenary session on Friday in Alicante rather than Valencia about the lacklustre state budget funds the coastal city is set to receive. 

Will all the noise being made influence the Spanish government's stance?

It appears so, as on Thursday November 17th Spain's Accounts Commission greenlighted an extra €51 million to be injected into Alicante's investment pot, to be added to the already allocated €160.8 million. This will be confirmed once Spain's 2023 State Budget are published.



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