social inclusion

Catalan Parliament approves one of the world’s most pioneering laws against homophobia

October 2, 2014 10:04 PM | ACN

A sweeping majority of the Catalan Parliament has approved a new law recognising the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people and persecuting homophobia and transphobia. The new law includes fines for homophobic behaviour at the work place and positive discrimination measures, such as having to prove one’s innocence if accused of homophobia (a measure already in place for those accused of domestic violence against women). 80% of the Catalan Chamber has backed the new law and the conservative and Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, was the only group who voted against the bill, which was filed by 4 left-wing opposition groups. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, split its votes, as the largest Liberal party CDC completely backed the law and the smallest Christian-Democrat party UDC voted against specific articles, although it did not oppose the entire measure.

The age of ageing: Barcelona’s growing elderly population

August 14, 2014 08:42 PM | Bryony Clarke

Like many major European cities, Barcelona is ageing fast. In the years ahead the city must grapple with many of the problems associated with an increasingly top heavy demographic: as the over-65 population burgeons, health and social services are stretched, the financing of pensions is challenged, and a growing number of frail and vulnerable people face competing over declining resources. Today’s elderly cohort constitutes a greater proportion of Barcelona’s population than ever before, and, perhaps most worryingly, face an increased likelihood of living alone.  But all is not doom and gloom, as the city enjoys an active, dynamic and engaged elderly population, the health and social sector rises to meet the challenges, and the labour market benefits from what are known as the ‘super-grandmothers.’

Opposition parties ask the Catalan Government for further efforts to fight poverty

March 12, 2014 08:20 PM | ACN

The Catalan Parliament held on Wednesday a monographic session on poverty, which has increased over the past few years, spurred by the financial crisis. According to a report published by the Red Cross this week, there are 200,000 families in Catalonia which live below the poverty line and since the crisis started, 88 Catalans a day have crossed such a line. With a population of some 7.5 million and a GDP per capita of around €28,000 (similar to the UK's) Catalonia posts a 22.3% unemployment rate and a 26.4% child poverty rate. Opposition parties asked for greater efforts and further measures to fight the poverty increase. The Catalan Government emphasised budget figures and detailed several actions in different areas to show they are tackling the issue. In this vein, the Executive criticised that child poverty stood at 22% in 2006, in prosperity years. Furthermore, they complained about the limited fiscal powers on taxation and public deficit, which seriously reduce spending possibilities.

Catalan Government stops cutting off energy supplies to families in need

December 23, 2013 08:16 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has finally approved a decree protecting families in need from having their household electricity and gas cut off by energy supply companies during the winter months. The measure aims to fight the so-called ‘energy povert’: people who cannot afford to pay for their energy bills because they do not get minimum income. This way, the Catalan Government ensures they can continue having heating and using their cooking devices during the coldest period of the year. Energy companies will not be able to cut off supplies to these families between November and March. Besides, the Catalan Government has also approved a temporary budget extension for the coming weeks, since the People’s  Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Executive – has blocked the approval of the 2014 budget.

Electricity companies not to cut off supply to people in need

December 5, 2013 04:08 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government wants energy companies not to cut off the domestic power supply to people in financial difficulties who are temporarily unable to pay their bills. The Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment aims to fight so-called ‘energy poverty’: people who are obliged to do without electricity or gas because they simply cannot afford the bills. In the current economic crisis, thousands of Catalan households (around 20%) are facing this problem, which means they cannot use the heating during winter or they have problems cooking meals. In order to achieve this objective, the Catalan Executive is looking at modifying Catalonia’s Consumption Code to include this initiative fighting ‘energy poverty’.

50,000 children suffer from food deprivation in Catalonia, according to the Catalan Ombudsman

August 5, 2013 09:14 PM | ACN

The Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, announced on Monday that 4% of children under the age of 16 suffer from food deprivation. Almost 50,000 children are not eating meat or fish at least once every two days, meaning they do not have a sufficient intake of protein. However, Ribó rejected there was a structural problem of malnutrition and linked the phenomenon to the economic crisis’ effects. Ribó asked the Catalan Government to act immediately to ensure that all children have access to enough food. The Ombudsman proposed 33 recommendations to reduce the child poverty rate, which currently stands at 28%, with approximately 345,000 children under the age of 16 living in poverty. The rate of extreme poverty has also increased in recent years and affects a tenth of Catalan children (130,000).

The 'Rossinyol' project, example in the fight for equal opportunities and social inclusion in Catalonia

May 9, 2013 09:56 PM | Carla Marchesi

The ‘Rossinyol’ project aims to improve social problems faced by foreigners such as inequality and social exclusion. It is an adapted version of the ‘Nightingale’ program, consolidated in different European cities, and was brought to Girona due to migratory patterns. The ‘Rossinyol’ project is based on a mentoring network helping the inclusion process of immigrant children. Volunteer university students play a tutorial role for Primary or Secondary school foreign students who are in difficult economic and social situations. In 2006, the project was implemented for the first time both in Catalonia and Spain thanks to the University of Girona. Now the project is applied by different organisations in the province of Barcelona and in Navarra, in the north of Spain.

One of the main members of the People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia to go on trial for xenophobia

April 13, 2013 01:02 AM | CNA

Xavier García Albiol, the Mayor of Badalona – Catalonia’s third largest city and attached to Barcelona – will go on trial accused of the felonies of provocation of hate, discrimination and violence as well as of collective provocative slander. In 2010, before the last municipal elections, García Albiol distributed leaflets that allegedly related Romanian immigrants to crime. During the electoral campaign, he mostly focused his speech on fighting crime and stopping “illegal immigration”. The campaign created a huge controversy in Catalonia and García Albiol was the most voted-for candidate, although with far from an absolute majority. He became the Mayor of Badalona and for the first time ever the People’s Party obtained the mayorship of one of Catalonia’s top 20 most populated cities.

Barcelona has now a soup kitchen in every district of the city

January 30, 2013 07:21 PM | Marine Berton

A new soup kitchen opened a week ago in the Eixample district, in downtown Barcelona, with a capacity for a hundred places. Barcelona City Council has increased the funding intended for social dining facilities in its 2012 budget by 69%. Expanding the number of places and soup kitchens is “a key priority” of the city to guarantee access to food for everyone, according to Maite Fandos, Deputy Mayor for Social Affairs. The capital of Catalonia now has 17 soup kitchens and can attend 1,540 users each day. In 2012, the City Council’s soup kitchens served a total of 380,737 meals to 10,423 users.

Almost 30% of Catalans are at risk of social exclusion

October 17, 2012 01:20 AM | CNA / Laura Quintana

29.5% of Catalans are at risk of social exclusion. This is the conclusion of the 2011 survey of living conditions and habits of the population of Catalonia. This percentage is related to the AROPE rate used in the European Union which not only analyses the income poverty level but also looks at severe material deprivation and households with very low work intensity. The results of the survey highlight that Catalonia was in a worse situation in 2011 than Spain (with 26.7% of people at risk of social exclusion) or the European Union (21.6%). Furthermore, 21.9% of Catalans live on an income below the poverty threshold.

Barcelona bans street prostitution starting this weekend, fining both clients and prostitutes

August 16, 2012 10:33 PM | CNA

The City Council’s ban, totally prohibiting street prostitution, comes into force this Friday. The highest fines will be for clients, having to pay between €1,000 and €3,000. The fine for prostitutes will be significantly less, between €100 and €750, and might be exchanged for a labour integration course. In August, police will start with informing people about the new regulation, but in September fines will be enforced. The modification of the city’s regulation was approved last July with the votes of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which runs the city government, and the People’s Party (PP). Left-wing parties criticised the decision, emphasising it condemns prostitutes to further marginalisation.

The Catalan Government provides explanations to the Parliament regarding social care organisations’ payments

August 4, 2012 12:13 AM | CNA

The Catalan Social Affairs Minister, Josep Lluís Cleries, stated before the Catalan Parliament that €70 million had not been paid on time to health and social care organisations this August. He said he was sorry for the situation but underlined that the €50 million destined for private citizens had been paid. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, emphasised that, if the Spanish Government does not activate the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities and similar measures, he cannot guarantee the situation will not be repeated in the future. However, he said to be confident the Spanish Government will put these mechanisms in place soon. The Left-Wing opposition parties had requested the urgent hearings.

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

August 1, 2012 10:44 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

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.

Catalan cooperative La Fageda awarded for its social integration work

May 11, 2012 09:58 PM | CNA / Laia Vicens

The BBVA bank rewards La Fageda with the 4th Integra Prize for offering quality employment for people with intellectual disabilities and mental disorders. Moreover, La Fageda carries out some care activities, like an occupational therapy service, assisted apartments for the workers, and different leisure activities. Nowadays, of the 287 people who work in La Fageda, 157 have some disability. The Catalan brand is famous for its quality dairy products.