Social spending did grow during the crisis in the Rajoy Government

Social spending has grown steadily in Spain since the beginning of the century and even before. In 2018, it broke a new record, reaching a total of 327,646 million euros, 65.33% of all public spending, according to the latest data published by the General State Administration Intervention (IGAE), which will be collected soon in the "Report on the functional classification of public expenditure (2014-2018)". The exercise of 2018 - there are no subsequent disaggregated data - also recorded records in each of the great epigraphs of the so-called “social spending”, that is, Health, Education and Social Protection, which includes pensions and unemployment. For Health, 71,017 million were allocated, for Education, 48,095 and for Social Protection, 203,116. Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sánchez shared the head of government that year, although the spending policies applied were those designed by Cristóbal Montoro in the last General State Budgets approved so far, a few days before the motion of censure that led the leader of the PSOE to the Moncloa.

All of these 2018 expenditure figures are higher than those of 2013, the year of greatest adjustment or cuts in the worst moment of the crisis. However, in that year, social spending –294,517 million– was higher than the year –2009– of more spending –290,697 million– until the effects of the Great Recession were noted. Social spending, in fact, shows a strong upward trend in the last three decades and that starts from further back. In 2004 when Zapatero succeeds Aznar at the head of the Government, social spending was 189,746 million euros. In 2011, at the time that Zapatero leaves La Moncloa, it had risen to 292,992 million, which reached 327,646 in 2018, in the Rajoy-Zapatero transition. In between, the Great Recession affected total public spending, which fell and bottomed out in 2013, with a total of 467,326 million euros, but social spending always grew globally, which dismantles the theory, widely disseminated by the left. or less radical, of austericide or big cuts. Yes, it is true, however, that health and education spending fell slightly between 2011 and 2013, but then recovered again, until reaching the 2018 records. Despite everything, in 2013 the items destined to Health and Education were 42.16% and 28.66% higher than those of a decade earlier, which proves the spectacular and permanent progress of the Welfare State in Spain, regardless of the party that was in the Government at all times.

Administration Expense

The total expenditure of all Public Administrations reached 501,497 million euros in 2018, which is just over 1.5% of the 493,865 million in 2009, the previous year of more spending and the last before the effects of the Great Recession. Well, the 327.646 million social spending of 2018 is 12.71% more than the 290.697 of 2009, another proof that even in the worst of the crisis, the Welfare State not only did not decrease but also increased and its coverage Was greater.

The recently published data of the IGAE also allow us to verify that in 2018 another maximum has been reached regarding the so-called «compensation of employees» in Education and Health. The total of the educational personnel collectively received 32,697 million euros, 14.8% more than in 2013, the year of the crisis that less money allocated the Administrations to this chapter, 28,462 million. Very similar figures can be seen in the expenditure dedicated to health personnel, which reached 32,121 million in 2018, the largest in history so far, and 14.3% higher than in 2013, the most complicated exercise of recent times. The items destined to remuneration in education and health fell between 11.8 and 8.2% between 2009 and 2013 respectively, declines that in 2018 had already been compensated and even exceeded. However, the amounts dedicated to these concepts in 2013 were 22% higher than those of a decade earlier in the case of Education and 43% in the case of Health.

More spending on Health and Education

The breakdown of social spending data in 2018 also illustrates where efforts are concentrated. For example, the large expenditure on Health, 55,313 million corresponds to the care and services of "outpatients", while "equipment, instruments and medical products", 11,670 million were allocated. In the case of Education, 18,622 million went to the “preschool and primary school” and almost the same amount, 18,228 million, to the secondary school. For the education of third cycle, especially university, 6,933 million were allocated. In the chapter on social protection, the big item is pensions, with 112,547 million, 50% more than at the beginning of the crisis, and more than double that of three decades ago. The one that has fallen, as a result of the reduction of unemployment, has been the expense in unemployment benefits, which was 18,639 million euros in 2018, compared to 31,195 in 2011. However, it is well above the 13,441 million in 2004 in full era of bonanza, something that is explained because unemployment is still far from its lower thresholds of the last decades. In summary, the latest IGAE data confirm, once again, the uninterrupted progress of social spending in Spain. Discard any theory of reduction of the Welfare State and reach records that will undoubtedly have been overcome again in the recently completed 2019.


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