Spanish Government Offers Its Younger Citizens $462 to Spend, But Not on Bullfighting

Spain's government revealed in its 2022 budget on Thursday that it is offering eligible teenagers 400 euros ($462) next year to engage in cultural activities, excluding bullfights, the Associated Press reported.

In hopes of boosting Spain's cultural-related businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, the government said citizens who turn 18 in the next year will able to spend euros on movie and theater tickets, books and concerts.

Controversary spiked as bullfighting businesses wanted to be included, but in recent years, bullfighting has lost its popularity in the young city-dweller section of Spanish society.

The Culture Ministry said in a written note to state-owned news agency Efe that "not everything that our legislation regards as culture will come under this cultural support."

The lack of supporters of bullfighting in the coalition government, which is made up of the center-left-Socialist party and the left-wing United We Can party, aided the decision.

Conservative opposition parties berated the government for leaving out bullfights as a cultural experience.

The Fundación Toro de Lidia, which represents the bullfighting sector, argued that Spanish law classifies bullfighting as part of the country's cultural heritage.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Spanish budgets does not include bullfighting
Spain's government revealed in its 2022 budget on Thursday that it is offering eligible teenagers 400 euros ($462) next year to engage in cultural activities, excluding bullfights. Above, revelers and fighting bulls arrive at the ring during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 14, 2019. Alvaro Barrientos/AP Photo

The government calculates that close to a half-million people will be eligible for the voucher, costing the state around 190 million euros ($220 million). France and Italy have taken similar steps to support their cultural sectors during the pandemic.

The budget seeks to drive a post-pandemic economic recovery through massive public investment, including with European Union funds. The government is aiming for 7 percent growth in Spain's gross domestic product next year.

The Bank of Spain, the country's central bank, expects 6.3 percent growth this year and 5.9 percent next year.

The government predicts that the budget deficit will fall next year to 5 percent of GDP, from an estimated 8.4 percent this year, due to an increase in tax revenue as the economy recovers.

Government workers are to get a 2 percent pay increase. Old-age pensions will also be increased in line with inflation, with the lowest pensions set to rise at least 3 percent next year.

A debate on the budget proposal is scheduled for next week in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish parliament, followed by a vote. The reception the proposal gets from lawmakers is regarded as a test of the government's strength.