Catalan Government estimates covid impact is at 4,761 million for 2020

Spending soared by 3,638 million and revenue fell by 1,123 million

2 min
Pere Aragonès

The pandemic has had an impact of 4,761 million euros in the Generalitat in 2020, according to the provisional closing of the exercise released by the Department of Vice-Presidency, Economy and Finance. Of this impact, 3,638 million correspond to the increase in spending caused by the covid-19, and 1,123 million to the drop in revenue due to the fall in economic activity and the postponement or abolition of taxes. The impact is below what was expected last December, when it was estimated to be 5,128 million.

According to the provisional closure of the accounts, non-financial expenditure reached 32,151 million euros, 18.8% (5,079 million) more than in 2019 and 14.4% (4,059 million) above the amount forecast in the 2020 budgets. This increase responds largely to the impact of the pandemic on the finances of the administrative public sector of the Generalitat, an area that includes all departments, the CatSalut and the Institut Català de la Salut.

Revenues fell by 1,123 million euros, although there have been exceptional funds, such as the 3,165.6 million euros that correspond to Catalonia of the covid-19 fund of the State, which according to the department have allowed to cover 66.5% of the total allocation. The rest has been covered with the own resources of the departments and the contingency fund and, thirdly, the additional funding from the deficit.

The provisional closure of the exercise also calculates that the year closed with a negative budget balance (deficit) of 1,869.9 million euros, which is 972.7 million euros more than in 2019. However, to know the full deficit figure for 2020 we will have to wait for the calculation made by the General State Comptroller at the end of March, because the result of the Catalan public companies and other adjustments associated with the European system of accounts have yet to be added. The vice-president and acting president, Pere Aragonès, predicted last December that the deficit would be between 0.7% and 0.8% of GDP.

24.2% of the expenditure caused by the pandemic (880.2 million) in 2020 has been earmarked to activate direct aid in the sectors and groups which have been most affected. The expenditure of all departments rose, especially that of Health, which raised the expenditure executed by 2,861 million (27.2%, to 13,392 million), 2,029 of which derive exclusively from the pandemic.

Less collection

The non-financial income of the Generalitat reached 30,281 million in 2020, an increase of 15.7% (4,106.4 million) compared to 2019. Most of the growth is explained by the income of 3,165.6 million of covid funds from the State. The collection of taxes not linked to the advances of the financing model fell (3,350.5 million, -11.6% less than in 2019), due to the lowest economic activity and citizen mobility (with losses in the field of public transport), and tax measures such as not charging the tax on CO2 emissions from vehicles, the deferral of the payment of the tourist tax, and reductions in water and waste fees.