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Government's 20€ book voucher to be launched in April

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The outgoing Government's new book voucher scheme, which will see 18 and 19-year-olds receive a 20 euros voucher to spend on physical books, will start in April, announced this week the Minister of Culture.

"By the end of the month the first pilot experiment will be carried out" on the platform that will issue the vouchers, and "in April there are conditions to issue the first book vouchers, which are aimed at those who turned 18 in the last two years, this year and last year," said Pedro Adão e Silva, speaking to journalists.

According to the minister, there will be around 200,000 young people who will receive "a 20 euros voucher to cash at physical bookshops".

To make this possible, Pedro Adão e Silva recently signed the ordinance that "defines the general regime for the book voucher", after the Council of Ministers approved the resolution in December that authorised the transfer of 4.4 million euros from the Cultural Promotion Fund to the Directorate-General for Books, Archives and Libraries (DGLAB), for the 2024-2025 book voucher programme.

The ordinance with the regulation establishing the book voucher programme and defining its conditions, criteria and scope of allocation was published this Thursday in Diário da República.

Now at the end of his mandate, the Minister of Culture considered it "fundamental that an evaluation be made at the end of this first experience, to think about whether it should be repeated in the case of books, or even to consider extending [this type of measure] to other areas of Culture".

The book voucher is a measure proposed by the Portuguese Publishers and Booksellers Association (APEL), which advocated giving 18-year-olds 100 euros to buy books, but the government decided to set the amount at 20 euros and limited the benefit to around 200,000 people.

On the same occasion, Pedro Adão e Silva announced the signing of the decree creating the Portuguese Network of Writers' Houses, "similar to what was done with the Portuguese Contemporary Art Network and the Network of Portuguese Theatres and Cinemas, to promote some integration of institutions that work in a fragmented way".

For the Minister of Culture, "this integration is fundamental, because it allows for a presence in the territory and the democratisation of access to culture".

In addition, "once the institutions that will be part of this network have been established, in an accreditation process along the lines of what has happened in other networks, it will be possible to have support programmes dedicated to network programming."

Pedro Adão e Silva also announced that he had signed the order creating "six scholarships for literary essay creation, dedicated to Democracy, as part of the 50th anniversary of 25 April", announced on Tuesday by the DGLAB. According to the minister, these are six-month scholarships.

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