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Welfare spending ‘never higher’ despite bailout budget cuts – PM

Page created: Friday, 30 May 2014 9:37 GMT

Thematic
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Budget Cuts  Pedro Passos Coelho  Prime Minister  Welfare

Portugal’s prime minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, said on Thursday that the government has managed to “maintain social spending” by the state, which despite the cuts of the past three years “has never been so high” in the country as now.

“Despite the exceptional circumstances that we are going through, in which the state needed to significantly reduce its expenditure, in order to guarantee the objectives of budgetary consolidation, social spending has never been so high in Portugal,” he said at the opening session of the national congress of Misericórdias, a network of institutions that provide social services through a mix of state, local and private funding.

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According to the prime minister, the government “has not only succeeded in safeguarding the welfare state and protecting social cohesion” but it has also “with all the sacrifices, maintained social spending that is higher than that which existed at the start of the 2011 crisis.”

Portugal has been obliged to cut billions of euros in state spending over the past three years under the terms of a euro-zone bailout, during which time unemployment has reached historic highs, pushing up welfare spending.

SYM/ARO // ARO.