History, and controversy, are repeated: Madrid rthey will receive a worse treatment than the Catalans in the distribution of direct aid included in the 11,000 million plan approved by the Government last Friday. This is the complaint made to ABC by the Minister of Finance of the Community of Madrid, Javier Fernández-Lasquetty: “The distribution is not at all clear and, in fact, it hurts Madrid,” he says.
The Government has established that the allocation of funds for all communities, except the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, is carried out following the same criteria as those used for the distribution of the ‘React EU’ fund, which are based on the impact of the pandemic on the community wealth, general unemployment and youth unemployment, although according to his data updated to December 2020. But Fernández-Lasquetty assures, however, that some of these parameters are not known to this day.
«The evolution of the regional GDP is taken as a reference. The problem is that that indicator is not available, since the regional accounts of Spain are prepared annually, not quarterly and, therefore, this data is not published. It is unknown how the split will be calculated. But the truth is that the distribution of the ‘React’ already harmed Madrid in its day compared to other regions such as, for example, Catalonia and the Valencian Community ”, he points out.
The truth is that the communities will play a key role in the success or failure of these long-awaited aid, since it will depend on them that they reach the recipients on time. The risk of a recurrence of the minimum living income case is, in fact, a constant drone in the economic world. In Madrid it is denied that this is going to happen in the capital, even despite the electoral call. «The Community is fully prepared to immediately activate this aid. However, Madrid has its own help lines and we will launch additional ones. But the government of the nation has to distribute the funds in an agile, efficient and transparent way, before they close more viable businesses.
The signing of the agreement between the central and regional governments is now the next step. Finance and the regions must subscribe within a month a letter in which their collaboration to execute the aid is articulated and which must contemplate key issues, such as the exchange of information between the different tax administrations and the conditions of the calls that are made.
As of that signature, the Treasury must transfer the funds corresponding to each community within 10 days of the effective date of each agreement. And from that moment on, the burden of the process will fall entirely on the regions.
All this procedure, together with the long year of crisis that companies have already endured, is too much, in the opinion of the Madrid economic manager. «They have taken 17 days to draw up a decree saying that within another 40 days they will define how the aid will be requested. How can Calviño say that they are “getting ahead”, if she is the slowest and least imaginative Minister of Economy in all of Europe? They are laughing at those who keep their business open, “laments Fernández-Lasquetty, who vindicates, on the contrary, the capital’s strategy in the crisis:” Getting ahead is what Isabel Díaz Ayuso has done: not closing everything. Let there continue to be free life in the hospitality industry, in shops and, in general, in the entire business movement. The economy sustains when there is freedom and sinks when there is socialism.
Furthermore, once in the hands of the communities, the procedure to follow is not easy to see. Especially in the cases of regions with a practically analog administration. According to the royal decree published on Saturday, in addition to the distribution, the autonomous communities will be in charge of controlling that the funds “are used for the purpose for which they have been granted”, for which they must impose a protocol that “ensures the correct obtaining, enjoyment and destination of the same by the final recipients ”.
The specific date on which the aid will reach the beneficiary companies remains, therefore, unknown. «The mixture of improvisation and incompetence further delays the distribution of these grants. Almost 20 days have passed since Pedro Sánchez announced these new funds and they will spend, at least, another 40 until the communities can begin to distribute them among the affected companies and freelancers. Almost two months of delay that will translate into new closures and job destruction.
Fernández-Lasquetty calls, therefore, for agility and reforms to ensure that the funds filter into the productive fabric more easily: “The slowness of the Government is unforgivable. In fact, they have not even defined yet or when they will arrive, or in what form, or under what requirements … The self-employed and companies are sinking due to closures, which we have avoided in Madrid, and also as a result of an incompetent government who thinks that governing is propaganda. In addition, these aid should be accompanied by deep pro-market reforms: less taxes, more economic freedom, less regulation, less labor rigidity. Everything we know works, which enables companies to compete and recover by providing effective service to their customers.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism