Low levels of social protection.

As Spanish citizens we not only too well the social reality of our country. There are even EU studies which show that Spain is towards the bottom of the list of European countries as far as welfare is concerned: health, education and family aid, to mention a few, are lacking in funds. We are also low down on the list in other areas such as development in our economy: I+D and the use of internet are two example.

Due to lack of time to prepare and translate this web, we have not been able to present all the texts in English. You will find, however, a summary of some of the flagrant cases of the low level of social protection in Spain. We include this information to show how the subsidizing of bull fighting can only be seen to be an immoral and anti-democratic use of public money.
Once again, if you need any extra information or an explanation of any of the studies we have included, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

The social groups most at risk

1. Children

20% of children in Spain, 1.8 million in total, live below the level of poverty. These figures place Spain towards the end of the list of European countries. The main factors which contribute to this situation is the lack of job stability and the lack of financial help from the state. Children are at risk in different ways. Social exclusion begins with the difficulty to access fundamental rights such as education, heath care, and welfare. The level of social exclusion in children is closely related to the efficiency of social and economic policies in the member states and the degree of justice, equity and equality that the state provides or, on the contrary, to which the population is denied. This sector of the population requires more financial aid.

Source: Cáritas

2. The Poor

Brussels finds that as a consequence of the low level of social protection in Spain, and Spain is one of the EU countries with the lowest, 19.4% of Spaniards are poor. Spain is considered to be the country with the highest percentage of poverty in Europe, with one in four children living below the level of poverty. These figures cry out for more socil protection in the form of financial aid.
Source: Eurostad

3. The Homeless

In Spain, a minimum of 30,000 people have no home to live in and the number of women and young people in this situation is growing. Among the causes is the lack of social protection. The NGOs are unanimous: they decry the limited social expenditure to finance the development of insertion strategies. These NGOs request more financial aid to deal with the complex situation.
Source: Fundación EROSKI

4. The Mentally Ill

The Social and Health Services that deal with people with mental health problems are few and far between. A serious lack of infrastructures to deal with immediate problems has been detected: infrastructures such as mental hospitals, day centres, protected flats, occupational centres and so on. Not enough public money is spend in this area. This sector requests that the recognition that is granted to persons with mental health problems be converted into practicalities. The social-health system should at least be able to provide these things: housing, disability allowance, and financial aid to family carers and to employ health carers. Those involved request an increase in the funds destined to this sector.

Source: Asociación Juristas de la Salud

5. People with disabilities and disabilities

In Spain there are three and a half million people with some kind of disability which is 9% of the population. If you add the families, this number increases to almost eight million which is a large proportion of the population. The most common complaint issued by the different associations of people with disabilities is that of lack or scarcity of funds. Communication barriers which the deaf and the blind suffer can impede their development at school or their ability to find employment. This sector requests better teaching, better transport and the suppression of architectural barriers.

Source: Comité Español de Representantes de Minusválidos (CERM)

6. Young people wanting to live independently of their parents

If a young person wishes to live independently, he or she must pay 55.2% of his or her salary. Not unexpectedly, these young people demand policies from the administration which will make it possible for them to become independent. Public funds are needed for such policies and for providing sufficient social housing.

Source: Consejo de la Juventud de España

7. Elderly people

Spain is the fourth country in the list of EU states with the oldest population. Spain’s position is the worst: it has one of the oldest populations and it spends less than anyone else on the elderly. Only 9.43% of elderly people in Spain receive some sort of social aid. One in five old people live in high rise buildings without lifts and only 21% live in accessible dwellings; less than half of their house have central heating. Eurostat claims that 22.2% of old people in Spain live below the poverty level. This sector needs public spending as they prefer to live at home with members of the family but these families, in turn, need the support of the administration.

Source: Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales (IMSERSO)

Of the 217 public hospitals in Spain with more than 100 beds, in 139 (64% of the total) have no provision for the specialized geriatric care necessary in the case of serious illness. This sector requests more public spending in this area.
Source: Sociedad Española de Geriatría y Gerontología (SEGG)

8. Families

Spain is still the country which provides least help for families. The aid is so restricted (conditioned by family income) that 89% of the families with children under 18 have no right to any kind of aid. If a family had a brut income of 30.000 € a year, they would need to have 10 children before they were qualified to state aid. Family collectives ask the administration for more investment.

Source: Instituto de Política Familar

Some real modern day cases (2007)

1. - Therapeutic Needs in the rehabilitation of people who develop cerebral damage

The Spanish Federation of Brain Damage (FEDACE) has decried the lack of assistance in Spain for rehabilitation of patients with this type of problem. Apparently the concept of a specific network of health and social resources to deal in an integral way with people who develop brain damage has been around for a long time but never achieved. The director of FEDACE also remarked that within the National Health System the number of specialized hospital units capable of dealing with the specific needs of these patients, are insufficient. In Spain there is not one specific rehabilitation centre for people with brain damage who need a hospital stay of over 12 months after and operation. It is important to mention that this is something urgently needed in Spain and that it affects thousands of people who have no specific social or health care provided after an operation where all the stages of rehabilitation must be carried out. What happens is that after the operation, there are a few months of rehabilitation and then there should follow another long period of rehabilitation. The lack of public spending is very apparent in this sector.

Source: Federación Española de Daño Cerebral

2. Spanish Hospitals offer half of the hospital beds that the UN recommend.

The “Asociación Galega para la Defensa de Sanidad Pública” claims that there are not enough bed in both private and public Spanish hospitals; this number is set by a UN recommendation. The lack of beds is the main cause of long waits in the casualty departments of the hospitals. There are neither enough beds for those who go to the Casualty Department nor for those who need and operation. The Association blames cuts in public spending.

Source: “Asociación Galega para la Defensa de Sanidad Pública”

3. Spanish hospitals lack means to face a heat wave.

An investigation reveals that Hospitals and Geriatric Units lack the means to face a heat wave as serious as the one in 2003. The study, with data which is valid for the whole of Spain, concludes that prevention plans are not sufficient to react in the case of a heat wave. The study carried out at the Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, repeats the claim that the number of deaths due to the heat wave that was published at the time was false and that the number was in fact 5,440.
Source: Emergency Services of the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. Published in the “Revista Medicina Clínica”

More information: We have been unable to translate all the documents in time for presentation of the web site. At the moment we only have the complete transcriptions in Spanish. If you would like any article or report translated into your language, please get in touch with us and we will have it translated as soon as possible.


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