Country Focus: Spain
International cultural sector calls on Spain to return to a reduced VAT rate
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- After the relative lack of success of the Spanish cultural sector’s open letter protesting the then imminent VAT increase on shows like cinema screenings, concerts, or plays last September, last Friday, December 7, the sector’s main international associations directly called on the current head of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy to reconsider the cancellation of reduced VAT for culture.
The letter, sent from Brussels, was signed, among others, by CEPI (European Coordination of Independent Producers, which includes 95% of Europe's audiovisual producers), FERA (Federation of European Film Directors), FIA (International Federation of Actors), FIAD (International Federation of Film Distributors Associations), FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations), IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance), MPA (Motion Picture Association), and UNIC (International Union of Cinemas).
“The Spanish government’s decision has aversely affected the cultural sector, which leads to a decrease in cultural diversity and to the increase in piracy in the case of the film sector. It will lead to a drop in investment in the whole of the Spanish culture sector and to the destruction of thousands of jobs in the Spanish cultural sector,” reads the letter, that however contains a note of hope: “There is still time to come back on this harmful decision.”
This call from the international cultural sector comes shortly before the government approves the State’s general budgets for 2013.
At the end of November, more or less three months after the implementation of a 21% VAT for the cultural sector, the Union of Spanish Cultural Industry Business Associations made an assessment that, according to FAPAE president Pedro Pérez, “fulfilled the worst of all forecasts”: After VAT was deducted, the cinema box office had made 34% less than during the same period in 2011.