Government ‘discriminates’ against the Algarve

By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

Algarve MEP and opposition PSD party member Mendes Bota has slammed the government for “discriminating against the Algarve” in this year’s public spending budget (PIDDAC).

The total budget for the entire Algarve in 2010 is 52.9 million euros, which is significantly lower than the peak investment of 333.7 million euros in 2002.

In a statement sent to the Algarve Resident, the regional opposition PSD party has said that it is “unacceptable” for the public spending budget to have been cut so drastically in a region that has the second highest level of unemployment in Portugal.

Five Algarve councils – Alcoutim, Aljezur, Lagoa, Monchique and Vila do Bispo – will not receive any money from this year’s PIDDAC, while São Brás de Alportel will receive 30,000 euros and Castro Marim 165,451 euros.

Alcoutim Câmara President, Francisco Amaral, said: “This PIDDAC proposal once again shows that the government is not at all interested in combating the regional imbalances.”

The PSD Algarve also said: “The interior has once again been forgotten. Those that need incentives to retain the population and encourage economic activity in under-developed areas do not count.”

On the other extreme, Lagos Câmara will receive the largest part of the budget, more than 3.5 million euros, followed by Portimão Câmara with more than three million euros,  Albufeira with more than 2.5 million euros, Faro with 1.45 million euros and Vila Real de Santo António with 1.32 million euros.

The remaining four councils to be included in PIDDAC are Tavira with more than 850,000 euros, Silves with more than 770,000 euros, Olhão with 570,000 euros and Loulé, which is set to receive less than 275,000 euros.

As well as the funds given to these councils, around 12 million euros of the budget is to be distributed among other regional projects, which may be shared by councils in areas such as health, culture, heritage, education and employment, among others.

One of the largest investments in the Algarve this year will be used to replenish sand on beaches across the region, at a cost of 14.1 million euros (see the Algarve Resident edition February 5, 2010).

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]