Socialists accused of using EU as excuse to sidestep ‘windfall tax’ on big business

PS insists it has not ruled out windfall taxes, but …

The government’s ‘absolute majority’ has come in for another pasting today – this time from PCP communists who accuse the executive of failing to tax the abusive profits of big business on the pretext that they want to wait and see what is decided at a European level.

Batting for his party , MP Vasco Cardoso said: “The PCP will never give up this battle to tax the excessive profits that economic energy groups have had in our country. This flight by the PS in relation to the necessary taxation of these profits, taking refuge in European Union decisions, is nothing more than convergence with the interests of economic groups, to the detriment of the defence of national interests”.

Vasco Cardoso was responding to the declarations made today by PS parliamentary leader Eurico Brilhante Dias who stressed that the government does not rule out stepping up measures to combat abusive profits in the area of taxation but considers it “essential” that this solution should be agreed in the European Union so as not to leave Portugal at a “disadvantage”.

Accusing the government of what it has been often accused of – following the European lead, never taking the initiative – Cardoso said it was time to “break with subordination to the impositions of the EU and implement urgent measures “which if already adopted would have spared the country from the unsustainable situation in which it finds itself”.

For the Communists, Portugal needs short-term measures “price regulation, a reduction in IVA on electricity and gas to 6% and taxation on profits” that have come from what the party describes as “speculation”.

The government’s refusal to do any of this shows it is “against the interests of the country, the workers and the people”.

To be fair, the PCP overall outlook is one shared by very few – hence why it is a party with such a small number of MPs in parliament. But Vasco Cardoso’s words were also directed at the refusal of this ‘absolute majority’ to take on board any other points of view – a criticism coming from every side of the political spectrum these days – and stick with a support programme for struggling families that is ‘manifestly insufficient’.

Eurico Brilhante Dias however has done his best to champion the government’s approach, stressing that the party is doing away with abusive profits by uncoupling the price of gas and electricity, allowing a reduction of between 15 and 17 percent on the price of electricity.

In the case of gas, he said, by eliminating the restriction on consumers switching from the free to the regulated market, the government has “crushed and put an end to abusive profits in the gas sector.” 

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com