Focusing efforts on the fight against covid is already an imperative for any administration at this critical stage for all economic sectors. The common objective is to guarantee the survival of companies and employment, in addition to having a special social sensitivity. The Alicante Provincial Council has also decided to put itself in the front line against the virus to align the priorities of the next budgets around a single purpose: to help lay the foundations for economic recovery. For this, the Provincial Council will allocate about 50 million to the fight against the covid in 2021, through the ordinary budget line that will be reinforced throughout the year with the remaining treasury.
On the one hand, The government team formed by PP and Ciudadanos will approve aid worth 6 million euros so that municipalities can allocate them to the self-employed, SMEs, micro-SMEs and professionals with the aim of minimizing the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. These grants will be compatible with those offered by other administrations, such as the municipalities themselves. During the first wave of the virus, all political groups unanimously approved a proposal with similar characteristics, so now the president, Carlos Mazón, has decided to continue this plan to provide liquidity to the local economic fabric, counteract the damage that is suffering and avoiding, as far as possible, business closures and rising unemployment. The 6 million euros will be distributed, following population criteria, among the 141 town councils of the province, which will be in charge of processing and awarding it among the possible beneficiaries. The subsidies may be used to pay the rent of the commercial premises or to cover consulting and advisory expenses, water, electricity or the amortization of loans for the acquisition of the business premises and commercial vehicles, among others.
Among other initiatives, the Provincial Council will also approve another line of 6 million euros to grant aid to municipalities to face social spending. The purpose is to meet the most urgent needs raised by the municipalities, an initiative that was also launched throughout this year and will now be repeated. The distribution will also be made following the population criteria, giving priority in the distribution to the smallest municipalities. Some of the actions for which the municipalities will have this financial allocation will be home care, especially for the elderly, disabled or dependent, assistance to the homeless, the reinforcement of municipal Social Services staff or aid to the most vulnerable families to cover basic needs.
The third line of action and the largest will be the new plan of 30 million for city councils, as a counterproposal to the Cooperation Fund promoted by the Consell and which the Provincial Council has not approved. This provincial investment program would be used to cover expenses for two years, which would mean disbursing 15.1 million per year compared to the 13.7 million proposed by the Consell. In addition, the idea is to benefit small municipalities, increasing funds so that towns with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants benefit.
The budget design is marking the activity of the Diputación in recent weeks. The municipalities have reiterated the need to have more resources and budgetary tools to fight against the health and socioeconomic effects of the covid. In response to these demands, the Deputy for Economy, Eduardo Dolón, assured this medium that the mayors will be able to decide whether to allocate the aid to current spending or investments. “The municipalities will be able to dedicate the money to develop works to generate employment or invest in current expenses for the acquisition of masks, gels or whatever they consider”Eduardo Dolón said.
The investment capacity of the Provincial Council will increase due to the incorporation of the remaining treasury that may also be used for current spending and investments. The 2021 budget of the Provincial Council will be slightly higher than this year, which reached 266 million. The first step to design the accounts was to collect the proposals of the opposition groups and now the document is already in the final phase after the deputies have closed the deadline for applications. The technical team is already working on the administrative documentation. According to Eduardo Dolón, the budgets will include most of the suggestions made by PSOE and Compromís such as plans for depopulation or the water cycle. The intention of the government team is to approve it in the plenary session to be held in January.
Plenary session to expedite the new investment plan and DANA
The Alicante Provincial Council has convened a plenary session for next Wednesday in order to cover two calls for the granting of subsidies in favor of the municipalities of the province. One of them, called “Plan + Cerca 2020”, is the investment program worth 30 million euros that the government team has drawn up to grant aid to municipalities, prioritizing those with the smallest population, and whose amount may be allocated to current expenses and investments. The second grant that will also go in full is the one destined for those municipalities that have been affected by the DANA storm, of rains, coastal phenomena and winds that occurred especially in the Vega Baja between September 11 and 14, 2019. The aid will reach 7 million euros. As the deputy Eduardo Dolón explained yesterday, “through this plenary session what we do is approve the financial mechanism that makes it possible to grant these grants, through a modification of credit and the execution bases to accommodate the plan investor and aid for DANA ”.
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