1 Jan 2013

Tax increases to take effect on Tuesday

9:23 pm on 1 January 2013

President Anibal Cavaco Silva of Portugal has signed into law a budget imposing big tax increases which take effect on Tuesday.

For most people, the rises are equivalent to more than a month's wages. The standard income tax rate is rising from 24.5% to 28.5%.

The BBC reports there is speculation that President Silva may ask constitutional court judges to check the legality of the budget, which is aimed at meeting the terms of a bailout by the EU and IMF.

Parliament approved the budget in November after heated debate. A general strike occurred on 14 November.

Portugal's economy is projected to have shrunk 3% and another contraction of at least 1% is expected next year. The rate of unemployment is almost 16%.

Portugal was granted a bailout of €78 billion by the EU and the International Monetary Fund in 2011. Some €61 billion has already been received.