Algarve’s 2009 budget ‘shockingly low’.jpg

Algarve’s 2009 budget ‘shockingly low’

THE SOCIAL democratic MP for the Algarve, Mendes Bota has condemned the government’s 2009 budget for public spending (PIDDAC) and accused it of “violently abusing” the region’s taxpayers.

Next year’s PIDDAC budget proposal for the Algarve is 99.9 million euros, which according to Mendes Bota is “shocking” when compared to previous years such as 2002 when the region was given 333.7 million euros for public spending. Since then, there has been a sharp decline almost every year, with this year’s budget of 95.2 million euros having been the lowest since 2000.

With a national budget of more than 4,000 million euros, the Algarve’s share for next year represents just 2.4 per cent of this amount.

No hope

In a statement, Mendes Bota said: “The 2009 budget wholly confirms what we have been highlighting in the last three years, that the current government is preparing to end its term of office without having launched the construction of a single infrastructure for the region with public funds.”

He added: “If things carry on like this, there will be no hope for the IC27 road between Alcoutim and Beja, the IC4 between Lagos and Sines, the modernisation of the rail links between the Algarve and Lisbon and many other necessary investments.”

According to Mendes Bota, large constructions such as the Odelouca dam have been financed by bank loans which will be paid back through an extra charge on water bills in the region, instead of with public funds. Other works, such as the refurbishment of the EN125 and the construction of the Central Hospital “have not progressed any further than actions of propaganda with tents, power point presentations and a lot of political marketing”.

As well as general under funding of the entire region, Mendes Bota highlights that inland Algarve councils are being discriminated against in favour of socialist party Câmaras such as Faro, Portimão and Lagos.

“There is an unacceptable empty budget for the poorest inland councils which is a condemnable political act that penalises Alcoutim, Castro Marim, São Brás de Alportel, Silves, Monchique, Aljezur and Vila do Bispo,” Mendes Bota concluded.

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