It’s a grim headline used by ionline to highlight the extent of pressure on Portugal’s beleaguered restaurant sector.
One of the most recent examples, says the paper, has been the increase in water charges in Lisbon which has tripled water bills “in many cases”.
“Then there is the new alcohol law, approved in April, less than two years since the last alteration. The changes will oblige “thousands of establishments to alter the information they give to the public in order to avoid fines”.
And so it goes on, in a sector already brought to its knees by a government that increased VAT from 13% to 23%, signalling bankruptcy and unemployment for thousands, informs AHRESP (the country’s hotels and restaurants association).
Taking an expression much-bandied about in parliament this year, the number of “taxes and little taxes” introduced in the name of austerity has now saddled restaurants with 100 commitments that must be met before any real money goes into the till, say AHRESP, claiming that “if tourism is growing and powering the recovery of Portugal’s economy”, statistics have glossed over their plight, which still sees the number of bankruptcies increasing at a “frightening” rate.
The “unpredictability” of legislation has also hammered restaurateurs, says the association – citing the fateful Friday in April 2014 (see: https://www.portugalresident.com/businesses-outraged-as-fraud-squad-pulls-invoicing-system) when finance minister Vitor Gaspar instantly outlawed IT software obliging all that had it to go out quickly and buy a whole new system or risk another crippling threat of fines.
Taxes today “apply to almost everything”, stressed the association. From the plastic bags used to put waste into rubbish bines to the account books that are needed to pay taxes…
But could things be about to change? According to ionline, the “current government” (that is the same one that brought in many of these taxes)
“has shown itself to be sensitive to the subject, and has a list of suggestions designed to ease the life of business people.
“It remains to be seen if their work will pass from theory to practice before the end of this legislature”, says the paper.