The Socialist Party is responsible for the lack of social housing – Minister

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The Socialist Party (PS), in power since 2015, has its share of responsibility for the lack of construction and supply of public housing, acknowledges the Minister of Housing.

“We’ve never said otherwise (…) We’re decades behind. When you talk about a backlog of decades, we should all be held responsible for what we haven’t done over time,” stressed Marina Gonçalves, in an interview with the Lusa news agency.

The special rehousing program – created 30 years ago to eradicate shacks in the Lisbon and Porto regions – was “very important”, but “it was a temporary program, because it responded to a specific need, for two metropolitan areas, not for the whole country, and it didn’t have this vision of considering housing as a pillar of the social state”, the minister stresses.

It is now necessary, in his view, to “consider housing in the same way as education and health” and to build “a universal policy”, while emphasizing that this is “work that also takes time to materialize structurally in society”.

The Socialist Party is responsible for the lack of social housing - Minister

Portugal’s public housing stock is one of the lowest in Europe, at 2%, compared with the European average of 12%, and with countries like Holland reaching rates of 20% and 30%.

When Marina Gonçalves was Secretary of State (and Pedro Nuno Santos Minister of Infrastructure and Housing), the government announced the objective of increasing the public housing stock from 2% to 5% over the next few years.

Guaranteeing that housing “is the top priority”, the current minister emphasized that building or rehabilitating cannot be done “overnight” and “takes time, hence the need for short-term responses”.

Approved by the Council of Ministers on March 30, the “More Housing” program includes measures such as the forced rental of vacant homes, the suspension of new local housing licenses and the end of “gold” visas.

The diplomas relating to rental assistance and interest subsidies on housing loans, which the government was able to adopt without prior parliamentary discussion, are already in force.

Presented on February 16, the program focuses on five areas: increasing the supply of real estate for housing purposes, simplifying licensing procedures, increasing the number of homes on the rental market, combating real estate speculation and supporting families.

Portugal closes ‘golden visas’ to curb real estate speculation

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

 

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