Minimum wage goes up

THE NATIONAL minimum wage, which currently stands at 374,70 euros, will be increased by 10 euros in 2006.

This was one of the surprises that José Sócrates announced during the first session to debate the State Budget in parliament. The Prime Minister revealed that the proposal, to be presented by the government, would consider an increase of a little over 2.5 per cent.

Pension increase

The other surprise was the announcement that the minimum pension would also increase above inflation, which in 2006 will be 2.3 per cent. However, for the pensioners, it is not necessarily all good news.

Around 600,000 pensioners will be penalised in their IRS (taxes), due to the fact that there will be a reduction in their personal deductible items. José Sócrates admitted that this will only affect pensioners who receive more than 693 euros, which, according to the Prime Minister, represents around 30 per cent of the total. Sócrates emphasised that only those who are receiving above 45,000 euros a year will be truly penalised. Portugal has around two million pensioners, of which 600,000 receive payments above 693 euros per month.

Sócrates went on to say that the State Budget is primarily focussing on combating fraud and fiscal evasion.