By Caio Bertazzoli, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
The Brazilian Minister of Culture Marta Suplicy has announced that, as of August, companies will be able to offer workers a new ‘culture voucher’.
The culture stipend is a benefit that can be offered to any worker who earns up to five times the minimum wage (around R$3390 or €1280). The program has the goal of assuring access to cultural activities and products, stimulating creative industries and forming citizens who can appreciate and consume culture. The worker will receive a magnetic debit card credited with R$50 (€19) per month to spend on shows, theaters visits, movies, books and other cultural products.
Employers who participate in the program can deduct 90% of the cost of the voucher from their annual income tax, and the other 10% is withdrawn from the worker’s salary. Both the employer and the employee can choose if they want to participate in the program. There are options for workers who receive more than five times the minimum wage and want to benefit from the initiative, but the percentage that can be deducted from the annual income tax becomes increasingly lower.
It is calculated that around eighteen million Brazilians could benefit from the program, which would represent an R$11.3 billion increase on the cultural market. Such a huge boost in demand for cultural goods and services is fundamental in the consolidation of the proper functioning of the cultural industry as a whole. The amount may seem relatively small for each individual, but the large-scale impact is very significant.
As a country with an immense variety of cultural goods and traditions, Brazil has much to offer to its people and to other nations. Developing a solid internal cultural market is a fundamental step towards the implementation of this valuable commodity as an international relations tool.
Article also published here