Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Digitizing Industry, No Longer Junk, Tobacco Tax, Offshores Exposed, Good Housing News, and much more!
Dragging Portugal into the 21st Century
The Portuguese government is continuing to throw its weight behind tech. In addition to the extension of the Web Summit’s tenure in the city, Portugal will now also host the Consumers Digital Summit. The event is to be held here for the first time in 2019 and will focus on the consumers’ role in growing a digital economy, something the government hopes to do through its Digital Innovation Hubs. These will, along with various startup hubs and platforms, help to digitize Portuguese business, apparently.
Moody’s Finally Admits that Portugal is its Baa3
And, it looks as if the economic stimulation is working, or at least people think it’s working. Moody’s, an American rating agency, upgraded Portugal’s investment rating from “junk.” This was done due to the countries economic growth and declining debt. Another cause for Portugal’s shift to a rating of Baa3 — the lowest possible one that still approves of investment — is that the economy becoming more resilient with each year. This makes Moody’s the last of the top four rating agencies to upgrade Portugal since the recession.
Tobacco Tax in New Year
Every week seems to bring a new blow for us unhealthy folk. First, the sugar packets. Then, the soda. Now, the cigarettes. As part of the 2019 state budget, there will be an increase in the tax applied to tobacco in Portugal. This will, according to “sources,” result in an increase of between 2.46 cents and 10 cents per pack, which may or may not be passed on to consumers. Ok, so maybe it’s not so bad.
Offshores to Be Revealed in 2019 State Budget
That isn’t the only big tax news, however, as the general tax law has been changed by the government to allow the Banco de Portugal do disclose transfers to offshore accounts. Up until now, the law has stopped them doing so, but with the new state budget, the central bank will have to give detailed information to the Treasury Office. This will include detailed statistics and reasons why people are transferring money to offshores that offer some kind of tax benefit.
Affordable Housing in Lisbon?
In what is a very rare week, there is some positive news about housing in Lisbon! The city council has launched a new affordable housing program in the district of Arroios. The project will include 68 houses — between T1 and T4 — with affordable rents, a kindergarten, and a public garden. The development, with an investment of €30 million, is the first of three, with the other two focussing on Belém, Lumiar, Parque das Nações, and Vale de Santo António, where there are plans for a further 267 homes, two kindergartens, and various green spaces. These are part of Lisbon’s Affordable Rent Programme, and costs will vary from €200 to €650. The council plans on investing a total of €200 million into affordable housing over the next three years.
No New Short-Term Lets in Bairro Alto and Madragoa
What’s this? Even more good housing news? That’s right. It has been announced that in addition to Castelo, Alfama, and Mouraria, Bairro Alto and Madragoa will no longer allow for the new registration of Alojamento Local. Now, this doesn’t mean that Airbnb is going to disappear, but it does mean that no new ones will pop up in your neighborhood! (If you live in one of those five, anyway). This came out of a study into tourism in Lisbon that also identified Baixa, Avenida da Liberdade, Avenida da República, Avenida Almirante Reis, Graça, Colina de Santana, Ajuda, and Lapa/Estrela as potential problems. That could mean that these, too, will soon bar all new ALs.
EDP Suffers Storm Damage
Some of you may have experienced the devastating power of hurricane Leslie, but most probably didn’t as there was a lot more hype than high winds. There was, however, damage to other areas of Portugal, with some of EDP’s infrastructure taking a hit. This, of course, resulted in people being left without power. Those customers will not be receiving any compensation of any kind because this was an “exceptional event.” But, more importantly, it has been confirmed that the cost of these repairs will be placed slap-bang on the consumer in the form of tariffs. Good ol’ EDP.
Portugal Has the Longest Lunches, Study Finds
Finally, an independent study by YouGov has found that the Portuguese take the longest lunch breaks in Europe at a whopping 58 minutes! This is how it should be, and the decline in the traditional “lunch hour” is having detrimental effects, according to Specialist Amanda Hamilton. However, 17% of Portuguese respondents said they had to eat lunch at their desk and 3% said they had no break at all. So, keep on lunching my fellow Lisboetas!
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!