PM presents increase as ‘extra measure of government support’
Insisting there was no trickery involved, prime minister António Costa (re) announced a 3.57% increase in pensions from July this year following yesterday’s ‘extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers’.
The measure had already been covered in the presentation earlier of the executive’s proposed Stability Programme 2023-2027 – but it was given ‘double exposure’ this way, and interpreted by some media sources as a sign that ‘government stability’ itself had returned.
President Marcelo nonetheless commented that what was lauded as the ‘interim increase similar to the half pension paid in October (2022)’ was “a measure that should have come sooner”- very possibly meaning the government’s ruse to reduce pensions at the end of last year should not have happened at all.
Mr Costa seemed to confirm this by saying that the new increase assures that pensioners “will have their pensions updated to the value according to Social Security basic law”.
It was “just another measure to support families”, continued national reports, on the day that 0% IVA comes in on a selection of 46 ‘basic foods’, the idea being that they will become cheaper for people struggling to make ends meet.
According to Correio da Manhã, the 3.57% pensions increase will add another €35.7 to every €1,000 of pensions. Considering the vast majority of the country’s pensioners are on considerably less than €1,000 a month (most are on pensions of half that), CM calculates the increase will add another €17.85 per month – and more importantly, it will count for future increases (something the one-off payment to pensioners in October last year did not).
Deputy editorial director Armando Esteves Pereira has referred to the political reasons for all of this, suggesting the increase was the prime minister’s way of “pulling a rabbit out of the hat at a time when opinion polls have given the government a yellow card”, with the growth of the ultra-right (in the form of CHEGA) and anticipation of early elections on the horizon.
Pensioners, stresses Esteves Pereira, “in a rapidly aging country decide elections”.