Socialist (PS) member of parliament Miguel Laranjeiro (pictured) has accused the government of social neglect and of turning its back on the unemployed.
“Fighting unemployment should be a governmental priority but it is not. The Portuguese government has turned its back on workers, on small and medium sized enterprises, and on the unemployed,” he said.
According to data released by the national statisticsinstitute INE, the unemployment rate rose to 16.9% in the last quarter of 2012, compared to the 15.8% recorded in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed people in Portugal now exceeds 920,000 (see other story on this page).
The unemployment rate continues to rise among youngsters between the ages of 15 and 24 and reached 40% in the fourth quarter of last year, affecting 165,000 people.
Miguel Laranjeiro added that since the government took office, it has destroyed 360,000 jobs and that daily670 Portuguese citizens lose their jobs.
“We can still remember the Prime Minister’s speech on how unemployment could be a life-changing opportunity. Where can nearly one million unemployed Portuguese find those opportunities?” he asked.
The MP slammed the government for being “blatantly insensitive” to the country’s social situation, which is getting “more serious and dramatic day after day” and urged for a different approach regarding the economy, because a “moving economy brings richness to the country and jobs”.