Friday, May 3, 2013


Portuguese PM announces new measures to reduce public spending

LISBON,-- Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho announced Friday in his official residence in Lisbon that the government will increase working hours for public sector workers and their retirement age, and cut public sector spending in the next few years to further reduce government expenditure.

He said that his government has decided to increase working hours for public sectors from the current 35 hours to 40 hours a week and levy less pension tax for those who volunteer to prolong their retirement age to 66 years old.

He further said that his government plans to cut public sector spending by 10 percent by the end of 2014, lay off 30,000 public servants and reduce 4.8 billion euros of public spending by the end of 2015.

The Portuguese government has unveiled a series of new measures in recent months in fresh efforts to meet its deficit reduction targets set by international lenders after a rejection of some of the austerity measures in the 2013 state budget by the country's constitutional court.

The April 5 ruling of the court has brought about a budget shortfall of 1.3 billion euros for Portugal, which has seen a deepening economic recession in the past few years.

Under a 78-billion-euro bailout agreement with the troika comprising the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in May 2011 Portugal has been implementing a harsh austerity policy which has sparked widespread protests across the country in recent months.

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