Survey finds Portuguese are not feeling the pinch

MOST Portuguese people say they have not felt any negative effects as a result of the controversial budgetary measures introduced by the government over recent months, according to a survey carried out by Diário de Notíçias/TSF/Marktest in September.

Some 51.7 per cent of those interviewed answered “no” when asked if they felt personally affected by the measures taken by the government to control the state deficit; 42.9 per cent responded “yes”, while five per cent said they didn’t know or chose not to respond to the question.

From the moment it came to power in 2005, the Sócrates government implemented various measures and strategies in an effort to reduce the deficit and control the state budget.

This included increasing IVA, the tax on tobacco and the alignment of the civil service social security regime with the private sector.

One of the more recent measures involved alterations to the general social security regime, such as a link between retirement age and average life expectancy, the organic structure of the State and the application of a new transport policy for civil servants.

This has yet to be implemented.

According the report, it was those surveyed belonging to the upper class and middle upper class that registered the majority of positive answers, or in other words, stated that they did feel affected by the government’s measures.

However, in contrast, from the middle class members of the population surveyed, 60.9 per cent stated that they were not being negatively affected.

This indifference in the face of the tough measures could explain the significant improvement in expectations for the future among those surveyed.

When invited to predict their personal financial situation one year from now, 38.6 per cent said that it will be worse, a much lower figure than the 45.3 per cent registered in July, the date of the last survey.

With regard to the question concerning who should take responsibility for the economic crisis in Portugal in recent years, there appeared to be no doubt among those surveyed. A total of 62.4 per cent of those surveyed pointed the finger firmly at the government, next came companies (11.8 per cent) while only 2.3 per cent blamed the workforce.

More than 10 per cent of those surveyed stated that they didn’t know who to blame for the crisis, while 7.6 per cent stated that everyone was to blame.