Prime-minister Costa’s new four-year government programme was unveiled this week, it is a lengthy 200-page document which, according to PSD MP Cristóvão Norte, does not contain any reference to the Algarve.
In his legislative programme the Prime Minister reaffirmed his intention to launch 5 new hospitals in Lisbon, Évora, Seixal, Sintra, and Funchal, leaving the Algarve out, despite various complaints by local politicians regarding the atrocious state of the Algarve’s healthcare system.
However, the region was defined as a “second priority” at national level, and it was assured that the area’s healthcare issues would be a priority for public intervention. Action speaks louder than words though.
Mr. Norte, addressing the Prime Minister directly, argued that “the President of the Republic has rightly said we should not be satisfied yet with our economic growth. In 2015, among the 28 in the European Union we were 18th, now we are 21st, with only 7 countries poorer than us.”
“Portugal is not improving as fast as many think. GDP per capita, measured by purchasing power- what one can buy with what he earns, and that is what really matters – fell in Portugal in 2018 to 2013 levels, falling from the European average, which means higher relative poverty,” asserted the PSD MP.
“Portugal needs to value investment and savings, to tell our young people – that we need them to stay here, whether for national identity, social security, or to innovate,” the politician added.
Mr. Norte says he has received no answer to his doubts regarding raising taxes also, pointing at the government’s intention to tax property-related income and its potential effect on the rental market, as well as the increase in public investment money going to Brussels’ Stability and Growth program.
On the fringes of the debate in the Assembly of the Republic today, Cristóvão Norte and fellow Algarve MPs Rui Cristina and Ofélia Ramos pointed out that “the government starts wants progress, but nothing in relation to the Algarve. There are merely hundreds of vague measures, not one affecting the Algarve. Health is degrading and there is no initiative to address this chronic problem.”