Portugal’s “enormous” tax hike despite protests

The Portuguese government has announced tax rises in an effort to reduce the deficit, despite increasing discontent among the countries’ people


Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said an “enormous increase in taxes next year” is aiming to meet the 2013 deficit target of 4.5 percent. There will also be an additional four percent levy on next year’s earnings.

The proposed changes come after Lisbon revealed it would miss this year’s budget target by 1.1 percentage points, despite the target being recently relaxed.

The government plans to reduce the tax brackets from eight to five – effectively increasing the average amount of tax paid. Capital gains, assets, financial transactions, luxury goods, and cigarettes will also see tax increases.

Following the announcement, the country’s largest trade union immediately called for a general strike on November 14.

Gaspar’s announcement comes only a short time after the largest anti-austerity protest the country has ever seen.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets last month following an announcement from the Prime Minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, announcing a 7 percent increase in the social security contributions taken from workers pay for next year.

The government later withdrew the changes.