Lisbon: a budget that provides answers

There are criticisms to point to Fernando Medina's budget. Even so, it is a municipal budget that does not forget the social crisis, which is the result of an agreement between the Bloc and the PS, and which takes the response to the pandemic as a priority.

In recent days, there has been talk mainly of the State Budget (OE) for 2021 in which even the PCP and PAN, which made the António Costa Government's Budget feasible, said it was insufficient. In fact, it is an irresponsible OE because it does not respond to the needs of the National Health Service, the economic and social crisis caused by the pandemic, nor is it demanding in public expenditure, intending to transfer millions to Novo Banco without any scrutiny.

In fact, the final stretch of approval of the document in the Assembly of the Republic was marked by the proposal of the Left Bloc, approved by all benches except those of the PS and Liberal Initiative, to prohibit the transfer of funds to Novo Banco without the conclusion of the audit. The Government has signaled a crisis and the obligation to fulfill the contract with the bank, but as in all contracts, taxpayers have the right to know what they are paying and whether they are not being deceived.

Another proof that this State Budget is not enough to combat the social crisis is the investment that the city councils are making to support those who are falling behind. Let's look at the example of Lisbon, where the PS has an agreement with Bloco de Esquerda.

In the capital, the social crisis caused by the pandemic has been noticed a lot. More than ten thousand meals a day have to be distributed, not only to homeless people, but also to families in difficulties, namely isolated elderly people. Four support centers for homeless people have been opened because many people have lost the ability to pay for their housing, and nearly 400 vacancies are being created in the Housing First program.

Thousands of computers were distributed to schools to allow children to maintain their learning and school meals became free from 1st to 12th years for levels A and B. Quick home monitoring teams were created and thousands of children were distributed. personal protective equipment for these institutions when Social Security had not yet done so. Contracts with artists were maintained and culture in the city was supported. New bike lanes were opened and Carris' activity continued, despite the Metro and trains having been reduced.

With thousands of stores and restaurants closing, new terraces were allowed to open and municipal non-refundable support was created for these small businesses. It really had to be that way, in Lisbon 150 people worked in the tourism industry, which disappeared from one moment to the next and whoever works in restaurants, bars or in culture has not moved since March and is desperate with the lack of response from the Government.

It is unprecedented to have to be a municipality trying to maintain employment levels and try to fight poverty in this way, but given the insufficient response from the Government, the Lisbon City Council had to respond: in 2020, PS and Bloco de Esquerda decided to make the response to the pandemic the center of the 2021 municipal budget.

There are criticisms to point to Fernando Medina's budget, namely in the low execution of the works of the municipal housing at affordable prices, of the day care centers or of the health centers, in the millions offered to the Web Summit or fiscal benefits that it grants to private, approved by the right, but not by the Block. Even so, it seems to me that it is a municipal budget that does not forget the social crisis, which is the result of an agreement between the Bloc and the PS, and which, in contrast to the Government Budget, assumes the response to the pandemic as a priority.

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