Pressure to the end. While the decisive meeting of the National Table of the Left Bloc was taking place, which discussed the party’s voting orientation and the lead to the State Budget for 2021, and also the Government tried to press with more last-minute arguments. In a note sent to the party with which he had been negotiating the Budget since July, the Socialist Executive outlined a series of arguments and swore that there was a way to do with the partner; at the same time, however, he took advantage of the note to counter each of the arguments that the Bloc aligned to vote against the State Budget proposal submitted by the Government on October 12. Political and rhetorical war will heat up.
War that was already foreseen in the intervention that the coordinator of the Left Bloc made this Sunday. In the statement she made to announce the vote against, Catarina Martins admitted that “throughout the negotiations, there were developments”, guaranteeing: “We will not play any blame games”. But these have been running from side to side for several days, behind the scenes of the negotiations and will continue.
No document sent by the Government to the Bloc and to which the Observer had access – you can consult in full here – the sum on the left is thrown as a final card, which, since 2015, has allowed reversing austerity, according to the Executive. “Between 2015 and 2019 the left-wing parliamentary majority was together to show that there was an alternative to this view of austerity. An alternative that bet on the recovery of the economy, the income of the Portuguese and the restoration of their confidence. An alternative that proved to be a success widely recognized by the Portuguese ”, is stated in the note. Document that did not convince the Left Bloc, which ended Sunday’s party meeting by announcing that it was going to vote against the Government Budget, the first time it has done so since António Costa is Prime Minister.
In such a decisive effort, the Government recovered the legacy of ‘contraption’ to call the Bloc to its side. “As in 2015, we are ready to jointly start again on a path to recover the economy and improve the lives of the Portuguese. We have already shown that we can do it ”. And I closed the note to ensure I was available “to continue to dialogue” and “to clarify these and other issues as much as possible”.
It did not arrive to convince Catarina Martins, who, despite the vote against, would, that same night, leave a gap open. At 8:30 pm, the BE leader said that the vote was against the generality and that in the specialty, it is soon seen. “We have not decided against voting without assessing whether or not there are conditions for negotiation,” she dispatched when asked whether the vote would be repeated in the final vote, on 18 November.
The white flag was waved. But it seems to English to see, given the cannon shots that both parties have been shooting. In the last two days, the Left Bloc circulated various information about the Government’s latest responses in this negotiation, always with associated criticisms, signaling that it was going to radicalize the position. The PS, on the other hand, entered into a kind of permanent fact-check on the bloc’s accusations, suggesting that Catarina Martins’s party lacked the truth.
The Block started by publishing, on the official website, that the “Government did not use the 4.5 billion with the Supplementary Budget ”. In the note sent to the party, the Government accuses the Bloc of “comparing maximum authorized spending limits with a forecast of actual execution for the current year” and that “the execution of expenditure must be below the authorized limit” . And he argues that, comparing the initial forecast for 2020 and the current one, there is a an increase of 4,620 million euros.
When BE points out that “the OE 2021 allocates fewer resources to the SNS than those provided for in the Supplementary Budget for 2020”, the PS replied in this last-minute note that “the increase in transfers from the OE to the SNS since 2016 was equal to 2,555 million euros, an increase of 32.4% (much higher than the rest of the Central Administration) ”.
In another repair, the blockers have denounced that the Government “promised for 2021 twice as many contracts as it will do this year”, but the available amount “is lower than what was done in OE 2020”. Here, the Government even admits that the transfer is not double, but also underlines that the commitment to partners was “a very high reinforcement of health professionals in 2021”. And what appears to be budgeted for next year is an increase “equivalent to that of 2020 and not twice as much”. Allows in a space of 2 years reaching double this year’s hires“, Stressed the Socialist Executive.
And about the investment in the NHS, given the many complaints from BE about the lack of “execution of 180 million euros“, For the internalization of responses in complementary means of diagnosis and therapy in public health institutions and services, the Government argued with the budget execution in September. And he guaranteed that “investment in the NHS is increasing 119% (compared to the same period last year) reaching 187 million euros, which already exceeds the total for last year of 156 million euros and is the highest value of the last decade ”.
The two sides of the barricade present, together with their arguments, a series of graphics. For example, and in terms of hiring in Health, the Block presents the evolution of the value of personnel expenses, which says it falls from € 402 million to € 301 million between this year and what’s next. The Government, on the other hand, accounts for gains in terms of human resources, underlining that, since 2015, there have been over 22 thousand health professionals in the NHS. And on personnel expenses, it presents the figures until 2020 to state that they have risen by 34% since 2015.
THE new social support it also motivated – and will motivate – exchange of accusations. The Bloc complained on Saturday that in the last response it had received from the Government, it had decided to maintain “the condition of resources for the access of independent workers to the new support”. In the note sent to the party, the Government summarized its reading of the negotiations to ensure it was “still available for to evaluate the scope of this provision, namely with regard to consider members of statutory bodies and also cover, without applying the condition of resources, self-employed workers or members of statutory bodies whose activity is prohibited by determination of the Government or the competent health authority ”.
BE reports that “in 2020, there were 165 thousand independent workers who received extraordinary support, and 30 thousand members of statutory bodies”. Now, it waits to see if these proposals will enter the Budget debate in the specialty. For now, the blockers do not rule out that he can change his vote from here to the final global vote. It depends on what happens in this month and a half of new negotiations, in the parliamentary scope. At least that’s what Catarina Martins said:
We will see carefully how the proposals are voted in parliament, in the debate on the specialty. But we are clear: we do not accept a Budget that fails the social emergency in which we live ”.
If, behind the scenes, the socialist government still exchanged arguments on this private letter, trying to convince the other party, publicly, the PS advanced with parliamentary cavalry, through its group of deputies, but with a combat tom very different. Other parties may even “choose their vote” but “cannot ignore the facts”, wrote the parliamentary group on Facebook, hours before the definition of the blocking vote was known. The Bloc was, of course, the target.