Meeting with the minister to request the maintenance of the social bonus for large families

April 23 21

The Spanish Federation of Large Families (FEFN) asked the Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, to maintain access to the social bonus for large families without linking it to income criteria, as a corrective measure of the penalty that these families they suffer in consumption, by paying more for electricity just for the fact of being more. The president of the FEFN, José Manuel Trigo, accompanied by other representatives of the family entity, met yesterday with Minister Ribera, to whom, at the end of January, he had requested a meeting after hearing that she did not rule out introducing limits on access of large families at this social rate. The Ministry did not rule out reviewing the current conditions of access to the electricity social bond. During yesterday’s meeting, which lasted almost two hours, the FEFN was able to explain to the minister that the social bond is the only mechanism capable of correcting the unfair situation for which large families pay more for electricity. According to the Federation, as the current electricity tariff system does not take into account consumption per capita (per person), but consumption per household, in large families the bill rises, when in reality these families consume responsibly and they have a lower consumption per person than other households. By having higher consumption, they are forced to contract a higher power, paying for it the price of the most expensive kWh.

Limited access

On the other hand, the FEFN reminded the minister that access to the voucher is not universal and does not benefit all large families, whatever their economic situation. In fact, only 42% of large families currently access the social bonus and there is also a taxable consumption limit, which prevents families with high incomes and excessive consumption from being able to benefit. The power must be less than 10kw and it is only rewarded up to a maximum of 4,140kwh / year, so that families with their own consumption of large houses, with gardens, swimming pools, etc., are not among the beneficiaries of the social bonus, Although they have the title of large family, they do not see this extraordinary consumption rewarded. The FEFN also explained to the minister that large families are a group that presents adjusted income in almost 40% of cases: 39% of these families have difficulties making ends meet, according to the Study on Large Families in Spain, carried out by the FEFN in 2019, before the health crisis. In addition, these households, made up of an average of 5 members, have greater needs for electricity consumption for a simple matter of number and, therefore, pay more for electricity. Faced with this reality – the FEFN explained to the minister – “the social bonus is an economic protection measure for these households and a way to compensate and correct the penalty they suffer, by paying more expensive the price of kwh.”

Families with severe vulnerability

In addition to maintaining current access to the voucher for all large families, the FEFN asked Teresa Ribera to improve the protection of large families through the social voucher in two cases. On the one hand, for families with severe vulnerability, to whom a 40% discount on consumption is applied (compared to 25% for the rest of users), and for those who request that the established income thresholds be raised. Currently, income equivalent to twice the IPREM is requested, which, according to the FEFN, is too low a limit, which many families exceed, even though they live in a situation of great economic and social vulnerability. On the other hand, to meet the needs of families with more children, the FEFN demanded an increase in subsidized consumption (up to 5,600 Kwh / year) in the case of special category families, those with 5 or more children, who have older consumption needs for an objective reason, to be more. In addition, he demanded that the minister that access to the voucher is not mandatory for all family members to be registered in the home, since, in cases of divorce with shared custody, the children live in two different houses, and do very difficult or impossible to meet this requirement. In relation to the requirements, and specifically, with the processing of the social bonus, the Federation also raised the possibility of simplifying the process with the minister, since it is often cumbersome and some electricity companies do not facilitate it either, which makes many families desist from requesting it and lose the bonus.

Key Collective for the Demographic Challenge

The FEFN reminded the minister, who is also the head of the Demographic Challenge, that large families are one of the groups that deserve special support, recognition and protection, as an asset for the contribution and value they bring to society in the form of economic and social capital, and their support should be included within the National Strategy against the Demographic Challenge, since they are those that guarantee the generational replacement rate for the maintenance of the Social Welfare State in the medium and long term.

Less than half of large families

Large families only represent 28% of households in Spain benefiting from the social bond; while another 48% are households without dependent minors (535,463); 10.96% are pensioners with minimum pensions (120,688 users); 7% are households with a dependent minor and 4.6% are family units with two dependent children. The fact is that not all large families are benefiting from the social bonus, but only 42% of the group. In number of families, and according to data from the CNMC, there are 314,302 of the 735,583 large families with valid title that exist in Spain, and of that set, 233,829 are large families vulnerable consumers and 80,473 severe vulnerable large families (they do not exceed 15,817 euros / year; that is, 2 times the IPREM).