In an interview to Expresso, António Costa explains that the Government is working on changes to family allowances and IRS “with a clear priority, which is the fight against child poverty”.
About the change in the IRS, with the creation of more levels in order to increase the income of the middle class, the government official pointed out that this measure “is included in the Government's program”.
“It is a matter that we are not only studying, but we are also talking to our partners and we have to measure if and how”, he stressed.
Asked if the measure is already applied in 2022, António Costa referred that the Government is “measuring”.
“If you tell me that we are going to adopt a single measure, I can choose whether I will change the levels, whether I will increase deductions for all children… If you tell me that both are necessary, then I have to reconcile the budget framework”, he pointed out.
“It is consolidated that, with an expected inflation of 0.8 percent, all ministries will have an increase in their budget by at least 1.2 percent and then there are a number of ministries that have an increase of more than 1.2 percent: Science, Education, Health, Internal Administration and Culture”, he added.
António Costa also referred, when asked about the possibility of increasing or changing the family allowance, that he wants there to be “a significant increase in terms of benefits for families with children, in particular from the second child onwards”.
“We know how difficult it is for many of the families to go from their first to their second child and this has to do with their income. We must continue to invest in increasing disposable income, which implies, on the one hand, a wage policy on the part of companies, on the other hand, non-monetary transfers by the State, with good investment in education, pre-school, day care, in affordable mobility and affordable housing. But also cash transfers, namely in family allowances”, he stressed.
In the Expresso interview, António Costa also discusses the maintenance in 2022 of the simplified 'lay-off' and urgent support measures.
“The normal 'lay-off' has been in force since 1980. As for the simplified, we are not going to withdraw any measures untimely. We will keep the measurements and they will be used or not as needed. Progressively, there has been less use of these measures”, he stressed.
“The safety net is fundamental for it to exist, because our idea from the beginning was that this crisis [due to the Covid-19 pandemic] is of a cyclical nature, we just don't know how long it will last,” he explained.
Costa also stressed that it is necessary “to maintain support for companies, support for the income of those who work, those who have lost their jobs and those who depend on social benefits”.