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Opposition parties slam PS for U-turn on vehicle circulation tax

PS accused of “electioneering”

The Socialist Party’s (PS) decision to axe its controversial IUC vehicle circulation tax hike has been lambasted by opposition parties – not because they disagree with it, but because they believe it only happened because an election is just months away.

Speaking to journalists at Parliament, PSD MP Hugo Carneiro stressed that all opposition parties dubbed the proposal “an injustice against the middle class and the most disadvantaged classes”, recalling that the government justified it on environmental grounds.

In the end, this argument by the PS and the government was false, there is no environmental concern, there was only a concern to increase taxes on the Portuguese (…) What is the real reason for the U-turn? It’s the elections,” he said, admitting that this proposal may even go against the wishes of the prime minister and the minister of finance, “but they are no longer in charge of the internal life of the PS”.

For PSD, this “has never been an electoral issue, but one of social justice” for all the citizens who only have older cars “because they don’t have the money” for newer ones.

A few minutes later, the president of Iniciativa Liberal (IL), Rui Rocha, also spoke to the media to describe the PS proposal as “absolutely opportunistic and electioneering”.

“It’s a shame they waited for an election campaign to make this change, it’s pure hypocrisy, pure opportunism, pure and hard electioneering,” he said.

Rui Rocha stated that by justifying the retreat for reasons of social justice, the PS is admitting that “the government’s proposal, which it endorsed until a few hours ago, was profoundly unfair”.

Nonetheless, both parties hailed this change as “a victory for citizens”, since several movements have been protesting in the streets against this increase.

“Although the government said from the start that it was only a €25 increase, I would point out that it was a €25 increase each year,” emphasised the PSD MP.

At issue is a measure set out in the OE2024 that would change the IUC tax rules for category A vehicles registered before 2007 and motorbikes (category E), determining that they would no longer be taxed solely on the basis of cylinder capacity (as is currently the case), but that the environmental component would be taken into account.

On Tuesday, the minister of finance, Fernando Medina, had referred to the PS parliamentary group for a possible retreat on the IUC hike for older vehicles, arguing that the government had presented its position in the budget.

Source: LUSA