Confusion as government swerves on PM’s pledge to extend food support to needy for next three months

DECO says the measure isn’t enough, whatever the time-scale.

There is confusion today as the Council of Ministers appears NOT to have extended food support for needy families by the three months pledged by prime minister António Costa.

According to Público, the decision boils down to extending support by just a month.

But whatever the case, consumer association DECO says it is ‘not enough’.

Food support has come in the princely sum of €60.

True, roughly one million families have benefited from this lump-sum payment: an initial group in April, followed by another group in May.

Now, those same groups will be afforded another €60 – those on social energy tariffs receiving it in July, all the others (on minimum benefits) receiving it in August.

This cannot be interpreted as the three-month extension announced by Mr Costa in parliament yesterday – nor is it sufficient, insists DECO.

Lawyer Ingride Pereira representing the price watchdog stressed €60 will not ensure families can buy the essential items they need in a month. Whatever the government offers should be ‘adjusted to inflation’, she considers, meaning it “cannot be below €100”.

Government already showing signs of ‘tiring’ after three months of absolute majority

The image of today’s Council of Ministers press conference seemed to be a line of people who wished they were somewhere else; anywhere else.

Writing on the parliamentary pages of Correio da Manhã today, director general Eduardo Dâmaso gave his impression of the PM’s ‘performance’ yesterday in parliament – the first PM’s question time since last October – saying that the ‘good news’ at least was that parliament is “centered on essential questions regarding the lives of Portuguese people, namely health, the cost of living, inflation, energy prices and social and food support of the most vulnerable families”.

“In the immediate future, the government and Costa will have to make more efforts to convince people that they really are facing problems, and not just managing the day-to-day and propaganda”, he said. “They cannot be tired after three months of absolute majority” he concluded – although, to be fair, it is beginning to look that way.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com