Last Thursday, at the end of a Council of Ministers dedicated to the response in the area of housing, António Costa said that his Government will adopt measures to support families and the economy by the end of this week and that they will be calibrated according to the final data of the 2022 budget execution.
"When we already know the final figures of last year's budget execution, we will have a sense of what is the margin to support families and the economy more according to the needs and the evolution of the situation," said the leader of the executive.
The last debate on general policy, in the Assembly of the Republic, took place on January 11, after the Government had gone through almost two weeks of internal crisis, especially with the resignations of the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, and several secretaries of State following the controversial compensation of half a million euros paid to Alexandra Reis to cease her duties as administrator of TAP.
Now, when the first quarter of the year is almost over, the set of responses to the current situation of persistently high inflation, particularly at the level of food, should be one of the dominant topics of discussion in this second debate of 2023.
"On the part of the Government, it is up to us to manage well, show attention to the problems that arise and have the capacity to respond," a member of the executive told Lusa, giving as an example the ongoing program of measures for the housing sector.
Regarding the responses to mitigate the effects of inflation, the Government has pointed out that throughout 2022 it allocated more than 6,400 million euros, with programs adopted in the first half of the year, then in October and December, in addition to the adoption of measures to contain fuel, electricity and gas prices.
On the other hand, on the climate of social contestation, on the part of the socialist executive, it is pointed out that negotiations with teachers on "mitigation of the asymmetries resulting from the years of career freezing", on the reduction of bureaucracy in schools, around the issue of monoteaching, among others, are still ongoing.
"For the public administration an appreciation is sought within the possible financial margin, through a transversal vision, assuming that it is important to look with another attention to the general careers, after all, those that have revealed less claiming power over the years," said the member of the Government.
Last week, the PSD, through its leader, Luís Montenegro, urged António Costa to take the teachers' process into its own hands, considering that the Minister of Education shows that he "has no arguments" to overcome this instability – a position that this Monday was later repeated by the president of Chega, André Ventura.
As a response to the high prices charged in the housing market, the PSD advanced an alternative program to that of the Government, which was made possible by the socialist majority in parliament.
Additionally, in terms of combating inflation, they proposed the creation of an extraordinary program to settle tax debts and Social Security this year, the proceeds of which would be fully applied to social measures.
Among other measures, the PSD wants the Government to move forward with a regularisation program for those who have debts to the Tax Authority (AT) and Social Security in the way it was done in 2016 – at the time for budgetary reasons – allowing the payment of debts in instalments, with the reduction of fines and interest on arrears.
The PSD proposes that the revenue of this program has four purposes: support for all citizens in working life with income up to the third level of IRS (about 1,300 euros per month, estimated the parliamentary leader); support for all pensioners and retirees who earn up to 2.5 the value of the IAS (Social Support Index, about 1,200 euros); reduction of the IRS for the middle class (4th, 5th and 6th tier of the IRS) and temporary reduction of VAT on electricity and gas to the minimum rate of 6%.
Chega, on the other hand, against inflation, intends to limit to 15% the profit margin of the sale of essential food goods for six months, considering that the price of food currently constitutes "an assault on the pockets of the Portuguese".
To combat inflation, the PCP insists that it is necessary to fix the prices of essential goods, without giving in to the "blackmail" of "empty shelves in supermarkets" made by those who "never had to face empty shelves in refrigerators."
"Prices continue to rise, speculation is increasingly visible and for a long time" the PCP denounces this situation, said the communist leader, Paulo Raimundo.
For its part, the Left Bloc accuses the government of having failed "all promises" on increases in workers' incomes.
"It's March, there are no increases anywhere, neither in the public nor in the private. The economy is increasingly unbalanced and increasingly unequal. The Government has failed all the promises and people are demonstrating in the name of something as sensible as salaries that allow them to reach the end of the month," says the coordinator of the Bloco, Catarina Martins.
In recent days, the Liberal Initiative has focused its opposition to the More Housing program announced by the Government, considering that "it will have very serious consequences for the country" by undermining trust and jeopardizing legal certainty.
"The Government has made a very serious mistake with this More Housing package. It was very poorly received. Applied will have very serious consequences for the country, "said the president of the Liberal Initiative, Rui Rocha.
The Liberals have also accused the Socialist executive of "a lack of political will" to make investment in the railway, of making "many promises" and of revealing "deficient implementation".
Scrap the purchase tax on properties.
Change the tax code to one where there are 2 brackets (35% & 48%) where the 11% of social security is included in the total percentage of tax paid.
Sell TAP asap.
Lower sales tax to 18% or 19%.
All of these requires political will and for the state to get their greedy hands out of our pockets.
Of course, with this lot I know I'm dreaming...
By Quentin Ferreira from Lisbon on 21 Mar 2023, 20:27