More Housing? PSD district of Porto accuses the government of “ignoring local councils

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The president of the PSD district of Porto believes that the package of housing measures presented by the government goes into the “pocket of the municipalities”, adding that the proposals “solve little or nothing”.

The president of the PSD district of Porto accused the government this Monday of “ignoring the local councils” in the elaboration of the “housing package” and criticized the “centralism of the decisions”, warning that the proposed measures “go into the pockets of the local councils”.

Speaking to Lusa, Sérgio Humberto, after a meeting between the municipal councils of the metropolitan area of Porto and the Minister of Housing, Marina Gonçalves, also criticized the measures to combat the lack of housing in Portugal in the program “More Housing” for “removing powers” from the municipalities, considering that the package “suffers from a centralism that is not understood.

“We must appeal to the wisdom of the government not to make a big mistake and create more problems than there already are in housing, with measures that will solve little or nothing, “said the mayor of Trofa.

Among the main criticisms raised by the Social Democratic mayors of Porto, which, according to Sérgio Humberto, were shared by the PS mayors, is the fact that the government “ignored” the mayors.

“This package has been made without listening to us, the mayors, who know the reality better than anyone, we have been ignored. The government wants to decentralize health, education, beaches, but in what the municipalities really know, the government wants to centralize decisions. It is incomprehensible,” he said.

Sérgio Humberto also mentioned that the fiscal measures presented by the executive “go into the pockets of the municipalities, since they are basically exemptions from taxes to be paid to the councils, such as the Municipal Property Tax (IMI), which once again was decided without consulting the municipalities.

Another criticism is the “removal of licensing powers from the municipalities,” which, according to Sérgio Humberto, “will create confusion, mistrust, and may even pose security and accountability risks.

For the mayor, “with this package, the government has managed to create great distrust in the market” and to “confuse the problem” of housing with the gold visas: “With the disappearance [of the Gold Visas], there are investment projects in our areas that will fall by the wayside and we will lose,” he said.

The PSD district leader also pointed the finger at the “poor and difficult use of the resources of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR)” that the package presented by the government implies.

“Much more could be done under the RRP. But there is one thing that stands out, and that is the price per square meter that communities are being asked to pay for construction. It is hard to understand why there is such a disparity between municipalities in the same district in the price of construction to be paid to the municipalities so that they can proceed with the construction of housing,” he said.

The draft bill for the “More Housing” program has been available on the website www.consultalex.gov.pt since Friday evening and is under public consultation until March 16.

Source: https://observador.pt/2023/03/06/habitacao-distrital-do-porto-do-psd-acusa-governo-de-ignorar-autarcas/

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