President plays down poverty report

“Real economy is different”

Albuquerque at the new soccer field in Câmara de Lobos, speeaking about the poverty report published
Albuquerque at the new soccer field in Câmara de Lobos

The President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, yesterday played down, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of 29.6% of the population of Madeira, released the previous day – reported in detail here – explaining that it is very similar to that of other European islands and guaranteed that the situation in the real economy “is different” and that “effective poverty is different”. He was speaking to the press as he attended the site of a new soccer pitch being constructed in Câmara de Lobos.

“The risk of poverty in the Canary Islands is 39% [of the population]. If we look at Sicily and Sardinia [the risk of poverty covers] one-third [of the respective populations]. But anyone who arrives in Sardinia and compares it with a municipality around Lisbon, immediately sees that Sardinia is much more developed. The real economy is different from the risk of poverty”, described the official.

Albuquerque explained the apparent contradiction with the criteria used to assess the risk of poverty, which take into account the island situation and the ultraperiphery situation: “European islands have a risk of poverty because they have structural problems. Its ultraperiphery, distance and lack of market scale are all variables that account for the risk of poverty?’.

President plays down poverty report 1
Earlier post

As he had already said the day before, the chief executive underlined that Madeira has historical factors that penalize it in the said indicator, such as the fact that it has “a group of older people who have not paid for Social Security and who have low pensions, which are still from the pre-autonomy time”. “That is why we, in Madeira, have invested more than 4 million euros in the solidarity supplement for the elderly, for the lowest retirements”, he justified.

Poverty: no need to change regional governance

As for measures to deal with this problem, Albuquerque considers that “the solution to poverty is not to give alms” but rather “to create wealth and distribute it well through progressive taxes and the social state”. He sees, therefore, no need to change the course of regional governance and understands that the ‘recipe’ for lowering the risk of poverty involves

“continuing to invest, providing for the creation of wealth, receiving foreign investment, diversifying the economy with technologies and ensure that tourism runs well, that people have income, wages and jobs”.

In response to criticism from the socialist leader, Sérgio Goncalves, on this same issue, the President of the Government noted that that “is the party that is the paradigm of the construction of poverty in Portugal”. “As long as the PS is in power, Portugal will become impoverished. And this is objective data,” he added.

7 thoughts on “President plays down poverty report”

  1. I can understand Albuquerque’s explanation to a certain extent, but he must not pretend that there is a genuinely poor side to Madeira that the vast majority of tourists never see, or even imagine.

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  2. Unfortunately when it comes to measuring poverty it becomes caught up in statistics, and we all know where that leads us.
    The facts are there is, in every country, a significant proportion of the population who are poor and governments should be doing more to alleviate that.

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  3. Working to protect the monopolistic interests on Madeira and doing everything to obstruct real competition, denying alternative transport arrangements via a ferry and supporting luxury developments that increase general property prices and rents all do zero to help the poorest on the island. If money was invested in more social housing, social housing care and the general community rather than more white elephants, vanity projects and jobs for the boys I just might have some sympathy for Albuquerque’s position but currently I fear his concerns are not for the poorest Madeirence but those who bankroll his party and keep him and his associates in the style to which they have become all too accustomed to.

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  4. I have visited Madeira twice and things had definitely improved since leaving there at the age eight in 1954.. I have vivid recollections of intense poverty and my mother doing embroidery from the crack of dawn to late at night by the light of a paraffin lamp. Our living conditions were appalling. Holes in the walls and the floors, no running water, (my mother had to cart water daily, no power and our toilet was a bucket in the corner. There was TB everywhere and along our street many died. My aunt contracted it but she survived. My older sister nearly died of double pneumonia and I had vitamin deficiencies. We lived on mealie meal and fish. We were poor but not the poorest because my father had emigrated to Mozambique and sent us some money every month. Eventually after six years he sent for us. When I look at photos of my father and mother dating back to the 1940s, they look like concentration camp victims. We lived in Sao Joao behind the Church.

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