The Government approved the State Budget proposal for 2022, after a Council of Ministers that began at 9.30 am on Friday and lasted until this Saturday morning.
The State Budget proposal for 2022 will now be delivered by the Minister of State and Finance, John Lion, in the Assembly of the Republic, next Monday, being debated in general on the 26th and 27th of this month.
On Wednesday, after the Government received the parties with parliamentary representation, it became known that the proposed Budget for next year foresees a growth of 5.5% (4.6% this year) and a deficit of 3.2% – here, a value identical to the one entered in the Stability Program.
The Government’s 2022 Budget proposal also foresees a slight reduction in unemployment to 6.5%, which should settle at 6.8% by the end of 2021, a debt reduction to 123% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and an inflation of 0.9%.
In line with this inflation projection, the Government has already expressed its intention to unions to increase the salaries of public administration workers by 0.9 next year.
On the part of the executive, the Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs, António Mendes, noted that the an upward revision of the macroeconomic scenario and that, in the aggregate of 2021 and 2022, Portugal will recover pre-pandemic wealth levels next year.
Regarding budget priorities for 2022, the prime minister, António Costa, has already mentioned the possibility of the Government moving forward with a split in the third and sixth levels of the IRS, with a strengthening the financial impact of the young IRS and with social measures mainly aimed at combating child poverty.
In recent days, the executive has signaled the possibility of making an extraordinary increase in lower pensions again, and the PS spoke of tax incentives, particularly in terms of corporate income tax, for investing companies.
On the political front, the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Duarte Cordeiro, stated that the negotiations for the feasibility of the Budget proposal between the Government, PCP, PEV, Left Block, PAN and non-registered deputies will extend until the moment of voting on this diploma in general, that is, until the 27th of this month.
Before journalists, PCP, Left Bloc and PEV criticized the direction of budget negotiations with the Government.
O Left Block contested the “optimism” broadcast this week by the prime minister about the conclusion of this process and considered that the negotiations were “far from being successful”.
I o PCP expressed concern with the course of the negotiations and with the “lack of answers” on the part of the Government.
Catarina Martins is not convinced
The State Budget for 2022 has not yet been presented, but the Left Bloc is leaving signs indicating that last year’s scenario should be repeated.
Despite the “optimism” that António Costa has guaranteed to feel, the blocists are convinced that the negotiations are far from reaching port, pushing the responsibility for the approval of the document to the PCP.
In this Thursday’s parliamentary debate, the Observer writes, the tension was clear, since even adopting a clearly more cordial tone than in the previous negotiation, Costa refused the Bloc’s claims, with whom he assumed he would talk later, in private.
Still, contrary to what happened last year, blockers want to avoid the media war in which they ended up getting involved with the Government.
There is now a more cordial change in tone by António Costa in relation to the party, without there being any threat of drama and crisis in the air for now — but suspecting that this cordiality is a form of pressure for the prime minister to be able to , in the end, to accuse the party of “deserting” again if negotiations fail yet again.
One of the topics on which the BE has shown more concern for the 2022 State Budget is the physicians’ exclusivity regime in the National Health Service (SNS), highlights the Público.
However, the Blocist proposal on the exclusivity regime for doctors in the NHS is not new. The measure had already been presented in the discussion of the State Budget for 2021, although refused by the Government still during the negotiation phase, and suggested giving doctors working only in the NHS a salary increase of 40% and a reduction in the weekly working hours from the age of 55 onwards.
This year, the matter is once again one of the priorities identified by the BE coordinator. Catarina Martins defends that the fixation of health professionals involves “starting the path of exclusivity in a determined, serious and comprehensive way and linking the precarious workers that the NHS needs so much”.
In last Thursday’s parliamentary debate, the blocist leader noted that “of all the announcements and intentions about the next OE” is not yet known “a single measure that allows to secure professionals in the NHS”.
The expectation regarding the implementation of the new regime is that the Government and the BE reach an agreement that fulfills what is defined not only in the new Basic Health Law, but also in the Government’s own program, which was postponed by the pandemic.