From youth tax to housing: what the parties are calling for on June 10

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Portugal, Camões and Portuguese Communities Day. And all of them, from left to right, agree: more and better can be done, and politicians must take this into account.

Enhance incomes, give hope to young people, grow as a country, fight inequality, increase public investment in housing, improve the environment and, finally, give dignity, dynamism and diversity.

These are the parliamentary leaders’ key ideas for the country on June 10, Portugal, Camões and Portuguese Communities Day.

The MPs highlighted the challenges and, from left to right, they all converged, including the PS itself: there is room to do more and better in the near future.

Eurico Brilhante Dias, leader of the Socialists, explains that his party believes that the way forward is to enhance “incomes, salaries and pensions” in order to be able to continue the “economic growth trajectory of recent years”.

Furthermore, according to the MP, the June 10 celebrations in Peso da Régua serve, in addition to enhancing the value of communities, to “promote territories and territorial cohesion”. “This is a fundamental principle for building a country that is more united, more inclusive, more cohesive, fairer, more prosperous and with fewer asymmetries”, says Brilhante Dias.

This position is in line with what the President of the Republic said the day before in Peso da Régua: the fundamental idea is to pay attention to the “sometimes forgotten interior areas” of the country.

“For these ideals [more inclusion, cohesion and justice] to be achieved, it is necessary to give even greater value to income – salaries and pensions. – Eurico Brilhante Dias, PS parliamentary leader

Although in opposition, the PSD takes the same line, focusing on the IRS, which Joaquim Miranda Sarmento believes should be revised to give young people more hope. Recalling that, when discussing the state budget for 2023, the party presented “a proposal for a maximum IRS rate of 15% for young people up to the age of 35 (for earned income and excluding the last bracket)”, the Social Democrat parliamentary leader asserts that this measure would “retain young talent and attract others from outside”. By applying this tax revision, the lower age brackets “will see their net income increase significantly”, asserts the MP.

“By setting a maximum of 15% IRS for young people, salary increases would be taxed much less, allowing us to give more hope to our young people. – Joaquim Miranda Sarmento, PSD parliamentary leader

On the IL bench, the motto of the election campaign is given, leaving an appeal to the emigrants who have left the country in recent years: we must make Portugal grow. For the liberal parliamentary leader, this is a priority “given the obvious incapacity and incompetence of the Socialist government”. And it’s not just “for the economic dimension”, but also because “a more prosperous country is always more capable of solving all social problems, from health to education, from justice to security”, he says, concluding: “Those who emigrate must do so by choice, never by obligation”.

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“I reaffirm to all those who have decided to live outside the national territory a firm commitment of the Liberal Initiative: to make Portugal grow”. – Rodrigo Saraiva, IL parliamentary leader

Like the right, the left is calling for more freedom.
On the left, the tone is the same: more is needed. Starting with the PCP, the Communists are seizing the opportunity of June 10 to demand a firmer fight against the inequalities and injustices “which are increasing as the living conditions of workers and pensioners deteriorate”. Paula Santos, parliamentary leader, declares: “While workers are impoverished by their jobs, with wages losing their real value, economic groups are making obscene profits. Although it is the workers who create wealth, it is they who receive the smallest share of it”. It is therefore necessary to “break with this path and adopt an alternative policy”, which would allow wages and pensions to be increased and valued, “within the framework of a fair tax policy”. This policy, according to the coordinator of the Communist bench, should include, among other aspects, “tax relief on labor income and effective taxation of big business”, as well as support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“One of the country’s priorities is to combat the inequalities and injustices that are increasing as the living conditions of workers and pensioners deteriorate. – Paula Santos, PCP parliamentary leader

Pedro Filipe Soares, parliamentary leader of the Bloco de Esquerda, focuses on housing, a sector where the absence of policies “to address rising housing prices and rents is part of the scourge”. The middle class and the most disadvantaged families, he says, “are being pushed out of urban centers, left to property speculation”. This is not an inevitability, but rather “a prize for speculators”. This is why the party is calling for increased public investment in the sector. The aim of this proposal is to “guarantee fair prices”, by controlling the market and preventing speculation. “Houses are made for living in, not for speculation”, concludes the Bloc’s parliamentary leader.

“We propose public investment to guarantee fair prices, market control to prevent speculation (…). Houses are made to live in, not to speculate in”. – Pedro Filipe Soares, BE parliamentary leader

Inês Sousa Real, MP and PAN leader, believes that there is room for greener policies that “link the economy and the environment in a period of climate crisis” such as the one we are currently experiencing – the country “would have a lot to gain”, she believes. And it leaves two concrete examples for reflection today: the simplification of the “regime for the sale of surplus energy produced for self-consumption from renewable energy sources” and, equally, “the creation of the Sol para todos solidarity program, to enable the transmission in solidarity of surplus energy for vulnerable families”. In addition, the fight against energy poverty, contributing to decarbonization and the energy transition, should also be a priority, according to the MP.

“This government needs to focus more on policies that link the economy and the environment at a time of climate crisis like the one we’re experiencing” – Inês Sousa Real, PAN’s sole deputy

Finally, Rui Tavares, for Livre, began by pointing out that on this day, Portugal is “probably one of the few countries” to celebrate “poetry, language and culture” (evoking the memory of Camões, who died on this date) rather than invoking “battles, wars or generals”. This link, according to the lone MP and Livre spokesman, can serve as inspiration for the future. How can we do this? By “anchoring the development model in knowledge, in culture, in the integration between human sciences and technologies”. “With its geographical conditions, its European integration, its links with communities and the Portuguese-speaking world, Portugal has unrivalled conditions for being a dynamic, dignified and diverse society”, he concludes.

“Portugal has unrivalled conditions for becoming a dynamic, dignified and diverse society. These will be the 3Ds of the future. – Rui Tavares, Single Member of Parliament for Livre

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