Public finance

Catalonia received 35% of last year's budgeted state investment while Madrid got 181%

Budget execution data for 2021 again show large differences between regions

2 min
The State ignores the priorities of the Generalitat de Catalunya in infrastructures

MADRIDThe Spanish government's budget execution in Catalonia fell short again in 2021. Last year, Catalonia received 35% of the budgeted investment by regions. In total, Catalonia received €739.8m, according to data published on Monday by the Ministry of Finance. The figure, therefore, is far from the investment included in the State's general budget, which totalled €2.1bn (according to the most recently updated data from the Treasury). This translated into a per capita investment of €270, which has now been reduced to one third. Thus, Catalonia once again receives less money than promised. Moreover, of the total investment which can be attributed to specific regions, Catalonia received only 9%, a figure which is far below its weight in the Spanish GDP.

In contrast, Madrid has not only received the amount of money foreseen in the state's budget, but it has doubled it. While the region was to receive €1.15bn (8.9% of the total which can be attributed to specific regions), the State has ended up spending €2.1bn, that is, 181% of the budgeted amount, according to data from the Ministry of Finance. This means that the real investment received last year by Madrid was almost double the planned amount.

This lower-than-budgeted real investment comes as no surprise. The trend in recent decades has been that the State does not execute the total investment in Catalonia agreed in the budget, as both the Generalitat and Catalan business sectors have repeatedly criticised. One of the reasons for this rate of execution of the budgeted investment is items linked to infrastructures. For example, until June, the "moderate" rate of execution was the result of investments dependent on the railway provider, which had not been carried out, according to sources from the Ministry of Finance. In fact, according to a study by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce in 2020, it is estimated that since 2001 and up to that date the State had failed to invest 25% of the amount budgeted for Catalonia. In total, this adds up to €8bn.

As a whole, regional governments have received €12.8bn in the first semester, according to data published this Monday by the State Comptroller, although a total of €13bn were budgeted. However, these records have been published as the Spanish government starts work on the state budget for 2023. The Minister of Finance, Maria Jesús Montero, has confirmed that "soon" she will present the expenditure ceiling, which is the first step on the way to preparing the budget. It is estimated that the expenditure will be slightly higher than in 2022, as the State will start receiving European funds.