Portugal’s prime minister António Costa has brushed off the decision by President Marcelo to go against his warnings last week that to promulgate diplomas paving the way to further measures of social support would ‘violate the law’ in respect of expenditure ceilings.
“We don’t have time for political crises”, he told reporters this morning, when in truth the government is surrounded by allegations of lies and underhand business practices (click here).
Elsewhere, former left wing allies Bloco de Esquerda have called on the executive to expedite the new support measures “as fast as possible”.
“It is so important that parliament has approved a measure that makes the government do what it promised but didn’t deliver in terms of guaranteeing support to managing partners and other workers who don’t have access to unemployment subsidies ”, said BE coordinator Catarina Martins.
The diplomas ensure that the support forthcoming will take into account the earnings of these forgotten taxpayers pre-pandemic-led restrictions.
PCP communists have also warned the government “not to create obstacles” in carrying forwards the measures.
“No one will understand if the government haggles over social support while it gives millions to Novo Banco”, said PCP parliamentary spokesperson João Oliveira, stressing that the argument that the extra expenditure ‘violates the law’ is “unsustainable”.
“We are at the beginning of the year – the value budgeted to cover these social support expenses has not been exceeded” and the evolution of the pandemic is “unpredictable”.
“When the State Budget was approved it didn’t enter anyone’s heads that we would be locked in our homes again in January. Confinement has implied extra expenses on one hand, but also a reduction in State’s expenses on the other”, he said – suggesting the real issue is ‘central rather than Constitutional’. ‘Does this Socialist government mean to bargain with measures of social support to try and better manage the country’s deficit?’