Costa “gives families more than a billion euros”

This is the headline on the country’s largest-selling newspaper this morning, along with a secondary text saying: “Costa wants to end with austerity”.

The swearing in of Portugal’s new PS government means that families can look forward to “more money in their wallets” from January 1, writes Correio da Manhã.

The benefit will come from the returning of lopped public sector salaries, elimination of 50% of the controversial IRS surcharge, reintroducing child benefit (at levels paid in 2011) and ‘updating of pensions’.

Prime Minister António Costa outlined the new government’s strategy at the inauguration ceremony yesterday, stressing it was geared towards “turning the page on austerity and focused on mobilising Portugal and the Portuguese for the triple proposition of more growth, more employment and greater equality”.

“Austerity has not generated growth,” he said, while “internal devaluation” has also not generated prosperity.

CM has broken down the ‘expense’ of the government’s plans at €1.1 billion – but whether all the decisions will be ratified by the president of the republic remains to be seen.

Cavaco Silva remains in power until January 24 and he has made it quite clear that he will not be “abdicating any of the powers attributed to the presidency of the republic” before he leaves (see Tough-talking ceremony sees Portugal’s Socialist government sworn in under heavy cloud).

Meantime, the European Commission is described as very keen to hear the intentions of the new government which is meeting today (Friday) to approve its future programme which is due to be discussed in parliament on Monday and Tuesday next week.

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