The Catalan Government cannot pay funds for health and social care organisations in time for August

Catalonia’s Executive blames the Spanish Government for not having transferred all this month’s economic resources and creating serious financial problems for the Autonomies, compelled to pay other financial obligations first. Social care organisations state that the service is guaranteed but that some employees might not receive their salary in time. In addition, despite that they are looking for solutions with the Catalan Government, they criticise the bad planning and are having to look for last minute solutions. Catalonia’s opposition parties have forced the Catalan Finance and Social Affairs Ministers to explain the situation to the Catalan Parliament.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

August 1, 2012 10:44 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Private and non-profit health and social care organisations have not received public funds this August, which are to be paid by the Catalan Government. On Tuesday, the Catalan Executive blamed the Spanish Government for not having transferred this August’s amount and therefore creating serious stress on Catalan finances. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, explained it in this way: this mechanism “works with advanced payments and therefore they [the Spanish Government] have to transfer the money”, and it has not been done. As a result, the Catalan Government did not have enough liquidity this month to pay all the obligations on August 1st. Since it is legally obliged to firstly honour its financial payments, such as debt interests, the Catalan Government was obliged to delay the August payments to health and social care organisations receiving public funds. However, these organisations, such as elder homes, psychiatric hospitals, children-in-need centres, and social dinning rooms, have guaranteed the provision of their services by delaying the payment of this month’s salary to many of their employees. They have also explained that they are working with the Catalan Government to find temporary solutions, such as applying for loans or delaying Social Security payments. However, they criticise the Catalan Government for having to improvise at the last minute and not planning for this situation in advance. The main trade unions (CCOO and UGT) have also criticised the Government for leaving social workers –who tend to have poor contracts– without receiving their August salary on time. Left-Wing political parties have asked the Catalan Government for explanations before Catalonia’s Parliament. The Catalan Ministers of Finance and Social Affairs will address the Parliament on Friday.

The Catalan Government, which is run by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), has confirmed the situation will not be repeated next month, as it does not have to pay debt obligations and can allocate all its funds to social care organisations. These organisations, grouped in the ‘Taula del Tercer Sector’ and the ‘Associació Catalana de Recursos Assistencials’ (ACRA), are sorry for the liquidity problems of the Catalan Government, but criticise the lack of forward planning, which has impeded a quicker reaction to the lack of funds. Cinta Pasqual, President of ACRA, explained that 18,900 of the 30,000 workers they have will not receive their entire July salary this month. Furthermore, 3,000 of them will not receive it at all. Pasqual explained that this delay causes considerable damage to workers even though all payments will be made later. Angels Guiteras, from the ‘Taula del Tercer Sector’, emphasised organisations are in different situations, and therefore they need different solutions. However, they have guaranteed that the service they provide will not be affected. “It is a bad moment”, said Pasqual, “but the service quality will not decrease”. Guiteras emphasised that the current situation is exceptional and temporary, and she trusts it will not be repeated next month.

The Left-Wing political parties at the Catalan Parliament have asked the Catalan Government to provide the Parliament with explanations. Therefore, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the Catalan Green and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), and the Anti-Catalan Nationalism Party (C’s) have requested that the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, and the Catalan Social Affairs Minister, Josep Lluís Cleries, attend a parliamentary hearing on Friday. The People’s Party (PP) has also confirmed it will vote for these hearings to happen.