In parliament, the PSD parliamentary leader, Joaquim Miranda Sarmento, once again accused the Government of having performed "a trick" with pensioners, by proposing for 2023 a pension update lower than that provided for in the law in force, bringing forward the remaining increase planned for an extraordinary payment in October.
"On June 20, I said that we were going to have a historic increase in pensions and that there was not the slightest doubt that the Government would comply with the pension update formula," Mirando Sarmento said, referring to an interview by António Costa.
The PSD parliamentary leader pointed out that at that time, the Ukraine war had already been going on for four months, "inflation was at 8.7% and it was already clear that the inflationary process would be hard and long".
"Why did you not tell the truth in June, why did you guarantee that the law would be complied with, what is this way of governing based on tricks and illusions?" he questioned, accusing the Government of making, as of 2024, "a 3.5% cut in the pensions of all Portuguese", including the lowest.
In his reply, António Costa said that on 20 June, the European Commission's spring forecasts for May still pointed to inflation of 4.4%.
"The following month, in July, the Commission revised upwards its forecasts to 6.8%, in two months it changed its forecasts by 50% and at this moment we know that it will be a little above 7%. The circumstances in which I made those statements are different from those we have today", he justified.
On the other hand, the Prime Minister refused that there will be any cut in pensions, stressing that even in the pensions with the least increase in 2023, the rise will be greater than the largest increase there has been since the beginning of the century.
"People know well what cuts are: they receive 500 euros one month and 400 the next," he countered.
António Costa again refused to have pulled any tricks when he presented the family support package in early September, as he simultaneously announced the payment of an extraordinary supplement equivalent to half a pension in October and the planned increase for each pension in 2023.
"And I can say more: in January 2024, no pensioner will receive less than in December 2023, there will be increases from 2023 to 2024," he assured.
In the rejoinder, the parliamentary leader of the PSD insisted on the accusations of "monetary illusion", since pensioners will lose real purchasing power, and regretted that the Government does not clarify what the basis of calculation for the increases from 2024.
The Prime Minister responded with the social emergency programme presented by the PSD, saying that the Social Democrats were only proposing a support in the form of a food voucher for pensioners with lower incomes.
"The PSD wants to be the father of pensioners, the PSD thinks that the grey plague does not know how to govern itself," he said, in a reference to a controversial article by former PSD member Carlos Peixoto.
On the other hand, Costa stressed that the PSD only envisaged support, this year, of 160 euros for pensioners earning up to 1,108 and that "all the others would receive zero".
"He said nothing about the increases for 2024, and nothing about 2023 either," he said, promptly contradicted by the leader of the PSD bench.
Joaquim Miranda Sarmento pointed out that the Social Democrats proposed that, for next year, the pension update formula should remain intact.