THE ALGARVE is to receive a significantly larger slice of the national budget next year – an eight per cent increase over the amount allocated in 2004. According to Morais Sarmento, the Minister of State, who was speaking at the Conservatório Regional do Algarve in Faro, the aim behind the increase is to “put the people first”.
The total investment in the Algarve will be 262 million euros and this amount will be used to fund a variety of key projects, including preparing Faro for its role as the National Capital of Culture (6.6 million euros), the Algarve Digital project (10 million euros) and the modernisation of the railway (1.5 million euros).
Several important building projects will also be funded, including the new Hospital Central (200 million euros), the Porto de Recreio de Faro leisure centre and the construction of a High Court in Faro, among others.
Sharp reduction for some
However, Tavira, Vila do Bispo, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim and Monchique will each receive less state funding in 2005. In fact, the last three mentioned will suffer a drop of 70 per cent compared with this year.
The Resident contacted Monchique Câmara President, Carlos Tuta, for his reaction to the news. “I am not worried, this is not a shock. The borough already has the facilities that it needs, such as health centres and so on,” he said. At the presentation of the budget for the Algarve, Morais Sarmento emphasised the fact that the plan was put together “with the people in mind”, explaining: “This budget will allow for growth and improvement, recovery and sustainability within the European Union and ensure the development of various strategic areas.”
The minister went on to explain: “The priority is the needy and the underprivileged and there must also be a continued effort to reduce the state deficit. Strategies must be introduced to achieve economic growth.”
He also mentioned the issue of healthcare, describing it as “the principal concern of Portuguese families”, saying: “The government intends to increase the country’s network of hospitals and health centres.” With regards to the subject of employment, the minister said: “There must be a better quality of life and a greater balance.”
Higher standard of living a priority
Summing up, the minister compared the budget of 2004 with 2005, describing this year’s budget as one of “severity and sacrifice” and that of next year as “a budget of strength, hope, growth and a plan for better quality living.”