The social security system in Catalonia would remain sustainable if the country were independent. This is the conclusion of a Catalan government report comparing the state of the social security system in Catalonia with that of Spain as a whole. The conclusions are based on the fact that there are more working taxpayers in Catalonia and that salaries are generally higher.
Catalan labor minister, Dolors Bassa, said that the figures in the study show that the pension system is in on course to reach “budgetary equilibrium” in 2018, which labour secretary, Josep Ginesta, says guarantees the pensions of Catalan workers. Ginesta said that the government estimates that if the job market continues to rally at the same rate it has this year, social security contributions and salaries will improve “enough to balance the system.”
Yet, both Ginesta and Bassa agreed that should independence be declared, the Spanish authorities would initially remain responsible for paying the pensions of taxpaying Catalans until agreement could be reached for the Catalan authorities to take over the pensions system. Thus Ginesta stressed the importance of bilateral agreements in the event of independence.
Catalans pay more social security
The study, which used Spanish government figures, focuses on factors affecting the sustainability of the pensions system, in particular the job market. One finding is that the employment rate between workers aged 20 to 64 is 70% in Catalonia, compared with 63% for Spain.
The study also found that workers in Catalonia pay more social security contributions than do employed people in Spain as a whole, at 42% compared to 37% in 2016. While Catalonia makes up 16% of the Spanish population, the country accounts for 17.3% of the total workforce, and has the highest salaries in Spain.
The report analyzed the state of the social security fund in recent times. Figures show that in 2016, net social security contributions fell short by 1.3 billion euros in Catalonia, some 7% of the 18 billion euro deficit for Spain as a whole. Compared with GDP, this means that the Catalan deficit was 0.6%, compared with 1.6% for Spain, which would rise to 1.9% if Catalonia were removed.
Social security contributions have risen since 2013 by more than 6%, reducing the Catalan social security deficit by 72%, compared to 56% in Spain as a whole. While social security payments have gone up in this same period, the report explains that this is partly due to the state authorities reducing social security funding to Catalonia.
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