Portugal to enforce stricter unemployment benefits
Friday 30 April 2010
Big cutbacks in the benefit entitlements of Portugal's army of unemployed are among austerity measures that Prime Minister Jose Socrates vowed yesterday to accelerate as a signal to financial markets that his government is serious about tackling the nation's debt.
Reactions in Lisbon were divided. The state's generosity to the unemployed has long been a target for callers to radio phone-ins. But others blamed it on political mismanagement. "First the politicians should cut out the expense accounts and top-of-the-line cars for themselves before they start cutting the dole," said Antonio Mendes. Mendes is one of the country's 700,000 civil servants and does not believe Portugal will go insolvent, or indeed that his job should be jeopardised by the worsening crisis.
Yet the excessive number of civil servants is blamed for the parlous situation of the economy. The public sector pay bill plus health, education and social security spending are considered high set against Portugal's productivity. Last year alone, Portugal's budget deficit rose to 9.4 per cent of GDP. Under EU rules, it should not exceed 3 per cent.
Carla Oliveira, the owner of a small restaurant in Lisbon, agrees with the government's decision to get tough on the unemployed, or the subsidy-addicted, as she calls them. Ms Oliveira needed staff last year, but, she said, benefits are so high nobody wants to work. "I was looking to hire employees for three months and could only get Brazilians. The unemployed would rather spend their day sitting on the esplanade. The government did well to crack down and they should go further." But Ana Moreira, who works for a private insurance company, disagreed. "They are attacking weak people who live on less than 500 euros a month. The cuts shouldn't affect them, it is unfair."
Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Question Time's 'passionate highlander' is the William Wallace of the Better Together campaign
- 3 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 4 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Question Time's 'passionate highlander' is the William Wallace of the Better Together campaign
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...