After the series of articles on the cities facing the recovery in pole position, the local editions of LaVanguardia.com now approach the opposite situation with a new cycle of reports. In the coming days, we bring the focus to a selection of locations that face the desired lift-off with more weight in the shoes. Chronic unemployment, industry in check, low levels of training and social cohesion, an indigestible public debt or recent closures of large companies are some of the factors that most drag the exit of the crisis to the bottom of the recovery.
Sant Adrià de Besòs has many problems, like almost all cities in the metropolitan area. But, if you ask for a specific one, most citizens and, above all, politicians, respond without hesitation: unemployment . The town on the banks of the river closed the month of March with 3,406 people without work, around 21% of its active population, which is around 19,000 neighbors. The highest percentage of the Barcelonès registry, the second largest in the metropolitan area – just behind Badia del Vallès – and the fifth in the ranking of Catalan municipalities with between 10,000 and 40,000 inhabitants with more unemployment.
“We can not hide the problem of unemployment: we have the highest number of the region and we are around the Catalan average, which is also high,” says the councilor for Economic Promotion of Sant Adrià, Filo Cañete. It is one of the ballasts that does not let the city take off from the hole of the crisis with the agility that other towns can boast of. The local labor market received a good blow when the housing bubble burst, but, beyond the macroeconomic circumstances, unemployment is a chronic evil with which Sant Adrià has lived for decades.
One of the main causes, Filo Cañete reviews
is the profile of the workers who live in the city: “Although the profiles change over the years, in general there are many unqualified figures and very linked to services and construction, which he is the great expeller of the labor market “. Claims that, obviously, there are more and more well-educated young people, both at the university level and in specialized trades, but there is still a collective, that of those over 45, “enquistado”, with difficulties to return to the market. “Sometimes they have it very complicated to return to the wheel in their sector of origin, so we believe it is important to do projects for requalification, advice and training,” stresses the person in charge of Economic Promotion.
This scenario leads to the fact that the promotion of occupation has been one of the main pillars of the Sant Adrià government for years, regardless of the political color. “If it were not like that, this would fall apart,” say local government voices. Around one million euros per year goes to this specific section, almost 4% of the budget. With a distribution of 31 euros per inhabitant, it is well above the 20.2 of the Catalan average or the 23 euros that Barcelona spends, for example. All this without counting the supramunicipal contributions, an important oxygen cylinder to which the Consistory comes in all open calls.
Until 2019, without going any further, Sant Adrià will receive a minimum of just over one million for occupation plans financed by the Diputació and the AMB , regardless of possible calls or projects that arise on a seasonal basis. For now, for this 2016, the planning points to an expenditure of 1.3 million in employment plans for vulnerable groups, such as those over 45 or women from single-parent families, or one million more to support the hiring of entrepreneurs and local businesses, an initiative that already worked positively in the past mandate.
Intrinsic characteristics to part, the crisis happened him a very expensive invoice to the locality, whose business activity severely was touched. The municipality touched ground in 2013, at which time the number of business projects underway fell to below 900, according to data from the Diputació de Barcelona. Since then, the trend has been upward, up to 1,100 current economic initiatives, according to the City Council, with an average increase of 50 per year. But the diagnosis changes if the data is scrutinized in more detail.
Most of the ‘new’ activity is linked to the tertiary sector. Almost 700 companies respond to the classification of Services, and only 126 and 95 are linked to industry and construction, respectively. In fact, isolating industrial numbers, the process of regression has been constant since 2010. In the last six years, Sant Adrià has left behind an uninterrupted trail of industrial closures, with a single rebound in 2014. Of more than 200 factories or workshops in 2007, before the outbreak of the crisis, to 126 today.
The improvement of the two industrial estates of the city is one of the pending subjects for
the local government. The Sot and Montsolís, on the borders with Badalona and Barcelona, are the main two ship areas of Sant Adrià, and their numbers are not exactly negative, according to the consistory. Both are above 80% occupancy, although the margin for improvement of both is indisputable. Infrastructures and services require modernization and many sections of their public road need action and reforms.
In this sense, the Adriaanse executive of the PSC replies that it requests all possible subsidies for the improvement of polygons to the supramunicipal administrations. In addition, it maintains a process of open dialogue with Barcelona to modify the PGM of Montsolís, whose conditions today play in inequality with those of the adjoining Bon Pastor polygon because of the type of companies that can be installed in one or the other. The will is to overturn its industrial landscape by capturing new sectors and taking advantage, in the case of Sot, for example, the upcoming opening of the Campus Diagonal Besòs of the UPC to feed on energy projects or agents involved in research and development.
Above other causes there is a reason that prevents the improvement
of the Sant Adrià figures at the occupation level: La Mina . It is one of the most socially and economically complex neighborhoods in Catalonia, with nearly 10,000 inhabitants, and accounts for 30% of the total population of the municipality. His influence on the statistics of the city is unquestionable.
Although neither the administrations nor the La Mina Consortium claim to have the concrete data of the suburb, everyone is clear that the figures are exorbitant. “They are intuitive, but the unemployment rates are brutal, very high. Bringing together a neighborhood like La Mina disrupts the numbers and also the resources, “explains the councilor, who admits the need to invest as much as possible in this district:” It is the neighborhood with the most needs and we have a responsibility “.
Also the entities and the associative network of the neighborhood lament the high level of unemployment that exists in the battered streets of La Mina, which blame for the increasing marginality and degradation during the crisis. This spiral leads to the existence of a submerged market in which the drug is at the top of the business cusp. “The unemployment rate is much higher than the rest of the city or any Catalan media,” says activist Josep Maria Monferrer, who denounces opacity in terms of employment figures in the neighborhood, as well as in many other areas. “For years now, the information has been shielded from the Consorci,” he criticizes.