Portuguese businesses call for end to austerity
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese business leaders are urging the bailed-out country’s government to change course, saying austerity measures are choking the economy.
A 78 billion euros ($102 billion) rescue two years ago required the government to adopt pay cuts and tax hikes. Those measures are widely blamed for what is expected to be a third straight year of recession in 2013 and a jobless rate that has climbed to 17.8 percent.
The heads of four national business confederations, covering industry, trade and services, tourism, and agriculture, issued a joint statement Monday appealing for lower taxes that might allow companies to resume investment and permit households to start spending again.
Portugal’s two trade union confederations, representing about 1 million workers, have a called a national one-day strike against austerity on Wednesday.