Between Rentería (Basque Country) and Arroyomolinos (Madrid) there is more than 260 euros of difference in the annual expenditure per inhabitant destined to social services. The town of Guipuzcoa (with 275.74 euros) is the best of the 31 largest municipalities of 20,000 residents that reached in 2017 excellence in investment in social services, those closest to the citizen and most necessary in case of vulnerability. The municipality of Madrid (with 11.89 euros) spent 23 times less than the Basque and led the ranking of the 40 that can be considered poor in this area, according to the study carried out by the Association of Directors and Managers in Social Services, published this Monday. That is to say, the Basque municipality spends 23 times more than the Madrilenian.
The association, an expert in the sector, analyzes the data for the third consecutive year of settlement of the budget that the Town Councils send to the Ministry of Finance. In the last year analyzed, the list includes 404 municipalities that had published the figures on December 28, 2018. To be considered excellent, they must have an accredited cost in social services and social promotion superior to 100 euros per inhabitant and year; this item should not have been reduced with respect to the accounts presented in the previous year; social spending must represent at least 10% of budgets, and must comply with a requirement of financial transparency, that is, that can be checked in a transparency portal the budget breakdown and the detail of spending attributed to social services. There are cities with a high investment that, by including in this section other items that are not social services, are off the list.
In 2017, the social expenditure of the 404 City Councils was 2,765 million euros, "practically reaching the pre-crisis investments made in 2010, when it came to invest more than 2,837 million, but with almost one million inhabitants more than in that date ", highlights the association in the statement.
The municipalities that spent the most money in 2017 were Rentería, Santurce (262.55 per inhabitant and year) and Mondragón (245.80), the three located in the Basque Country. But in percentage terms, the population that dedicated the most effort in 2017 to social services was Baza. The town of Granada invested 24.1% of its budget to serve the most vulnerable neighbors. "It's a model in social services, it's a small Town Hall [unos 20.600 habitantes], but devotes almost one in four euros to serve citizens. It has residence, day center, home help, has a good ratio of social service workers per inhabitant … ", explains José Manuel Ramírez, president of the Association of Directors and Managers. (22.6%) and the Andalusian town of Alcalá la Real (21.8%).
"Only 3.5 million inhabitants can feel benefited by social services of excellence in terms of social investment, which is the resident population in these 31 municipalities, out of a total of 30.8 million urban inhabitants [que viven en localidades con más de 20.000 personas] about which the report is made ", the association highlights in a statement. Cities like Barcelona, Zaragoza, Cádiz or Granada are on the list. Madrid, for example, which has a significant expenditure per inhabitant and year, does not exceed 10% of its budget for this item, so it does not enter the ranking Andalusia is the autonomous community with the most excellent municipalities in social services (nine), followed by Catalonia (six), País Vasco (five) and Comunidad Valenciana (four).
At the opposite extreme, the municipalities are considered poor, those with a budget of less than 60% of the median spending of localities larger than 20,000 inhabitants. The threshold was set in 2017 at 40.40 euros per person per year. In the list there are 40 municipalities, 75% of which were already in this ranking in 2016. In absolute terms, Arroyomolinos (Madrid), Vila-seca (Tarragona, 17 euros) and Almendralejo (Badajoz, 17,04 euros) were the poorest municipalities. Percentage-wise, those with the least economic effort devoted to serving their most vulnerable population were Arroyomolinos (1.2% of their budget), Vila-seca (Tarragona, 1.40%) and Los Barrios (Cádiz, 1.9%). The Community of Madrid is the region with the most poor municipalities in social services (10), followed by the Valencian Community (seven) and Andalusia (six). More than two million people live in localities that fall into this category.
The association also distinguishes 56 municipalities considered precarious, with an investment that exceeds 40.40 (threshold for the precarious) and 50 euros per inhabitant and year. They account for 24% of the 404 that are included in the report. Almost five million citizens live in these municipalities. 71% of the locations that were in 2016 in this category continue in it. The organization emphasizes that, despite the fact that "in general, investments are observed upwards in 2017", they have not been "enough to be able to take their neighbors out of social precariousness".