Portuguese government set to unveil austerity budget


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The Independent Online

Portugal's government is putting the finishing touches to a draft budget for next year which is expected to be one of the toughest in the country's recent history.

Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar has said the spending plan will include an "enormous" increase in taxes as well as further cuts in public services and civil service layoffs.

Portugal needed a 78 billion euros (£62.8 billion) bailout last year to avoid bankruptcy when it was engulfed by the eurozone's debt crisis.

But it has struggled to reduce its deficit because the cuts have deepened a recession, sending unemployment to a record 15.9%.

The centre-right government's austerity policies have triggered broad public outrage and brought tensions between the two parties in the governing coalition.

The government is due to publish the budget draft later today.