“Algarve is a priority” for the Government – existing funding reannounced
Portugal’s Communist Party has stated that the 2018 State Budget has "limitations and insufficiencies in the response to the problems of the Algarve," mainly due to the lack of investment in infrastructure and public services.
During the debate on the State Budget, approved yesterday, the Communist Party says that its MPs battled for improvements and increased staffing levels at the Algarve region’s health centres and schools as well as investment in equipment for the University Hospital of the Algarve, to no avail.
Other areas where the region will be poorly served next year include cultural heritage spending and investment in the Algarve’s road and rail services.
The ‘zero new investment’ list continues, with water supply for agriculture in the Algarve’s countryside areas, dredging harbours and channels and repairing ports all receiving no help from the government next year, according to the Communists
On the plus side, the State Budget includes provisions to raise unemployment benefits and help support those looking for work. In the schools, there are more free books and better pre-school provision. Pensions are going up by a minimum of €10 a month and income tax rates for low paid should ease the problems of poverty a little.
“During the year 2018, the Portuguese Communist Party will closely follow the implementation of the State Budget, continuing to draw attention to the problems of the Algarve and demand their resolution. In particular, it will continue to intervene towards the abolition of tolls on the Via do Infante, for the rapid completion of the works along the EN125, for the electrification of the Algarve’s railway line and for the construction of a Central Hospital,” concluded the PCP.
Social Democratic Party MPs have pointed out that there is no money in the budget to complete the EN125 road works from Olhão to the Spanish border (the western section is still not completed) and the Left Bloc are still annoyed that the government rejected its idea that the motorway tolls could be paid for by a regional tourist tax.
The Socialist Party defended the State Budget, claiming that it shows that the “Algarve is a priority” for the Government.
The Algarve’s Socialist Party President and MP, António Eusébio, said “This is a budget that continues to invest in the political strategy that has put Portugal on the path of sustainable growth and the valuation of people, allowing a fair return on family income.”
“Contrary to what has been announced, structural investment in the Algarve is broadly contemplated in the 2018 State Budget,” assured the MP, “in its different areas of reference and in areas that are strategic for the region, complementing the enormous work public institutions and Algarvian companies are doing with the support of European Union funds.”
The MP highlighted the investment that is expected to be ‘initiated’ in 2018, while mentioning a long list of existing projects,