A total of 13 municipalities in Almeria with depopulation problems have received aid from the Regional Ministry of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration for public facilities and infrastructure. The department headed by Juan Marín has been a pioneer in taking into account criteria such as population density, demographic and vegetative growth or the ageing index to distribute a line of subsidies aimed at improving services in rural areas in order to fix the population in the territory.
The grants of up to 30,000 euros per municipality are available to municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants. In the case of the province of Almería, the towns that will finally benefit from these funds are: Suflí, Ohanes, Santa Fe de Mondújar, Alicún, Bentarique, Santa Cruz de Marchena, Senés, Rágol, Bayárcal, Paterna del Río, Terque, Tahal, Líjar.
The beneficiary town councils can allocate these resources to equipment or machinery necessary for the provision of public services, works in municipal buildings, investment studies related to local development plans or investments to stimulate economic activity and employment generation, especially in endogenous strategic sectors. In the case of the municipalities of Almeria, the majority have applied for aid to refurbish public centres such as the adult education centre in Líjar, the municipal theatre in Santa Fe de Mondújar, the municipal gymnasium in Rágol and multi-purpose premises designed to offer socio-cultural activities to local residents or Town Hall offices where the public is attended to.
The total budget for this line of aid is 2.5 million euros, of which 331,978 euros have been allocated to municipalities in the province of Almería.
According to the regulatory bases, the objective criteria of risk of depopulation have been valued with up to 20 points, along with other traditional criteria such as the unemployment rate (up to 25 points), the population (also up to a maximum of 25 points), the income of the local entity (with a maximum of 15 points) and that the municipality has not been a beneficiary of similar aid (another 15 points).
The territorial delegate for Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration, José Luis Delgado, pointed out that “depopulation is a problem that affects regions of Almeria such as the Alpujarras and the Almanzora and that it is necessary to tackle it through collaboration between administrations”. For this reason, he highlighted the commitment of this Government, and especially of Vice President Juan Marín, to help municipalities to fix the population in the territory “with specific measures, such as this direct aid to provide them with infrastructure and decent services” but also with tax benefits, such as the deduction of 400 euros in personal income tax for birth or adoption for those who live in towns with less than 3,000 inhabitants, or a reduced rate of 3.000 euros per year for those who live in towns with less than 3,000 inhabitants. 000 inhabitants or a reduced rate of 3.5% for the purchase of housing, without forgetting the importance of the Programme for the Promotion of Agricultural Employment (PFEA), co-financed by the Regional Ministry.