Cláudia Vasconcelos (IL): «We need to release the tax burden on companies»

“In terms of inhabitants per bed in hospitals, we are the second worst region in the country, even without accounting for the effects of tourism and seasonality.”

Cláudia Vasconcelos, 38 years old, is from Albufeira, a professional in the hotel industry and general coordinator of the Liberal Initiative at the Territorial Nucleus of Faro.

He is also the head of the Liberal Initiative (IL) list, for the constituency of Faro, in the Legislative Elections of January 30th.

With Cláudia Vasconcelos, the series of interviews that the Sul Informação is publishing, with all the heads of the list of all the political forces that are candidates for the constituency of the district of Faro.

To all, and in a logic of equal opportunities, the same questionnaire with 12 questions was sent, in a timely manner.

The answers are, of course, diverse, as will become clear over the next few days, with the publication of all the interviews.


Sul Informação – What are the priorities of your political force for the next legislature for the Algarve?

Cláudia Vasconcelos – Health. Waiting times that almost reach 1000 days, for a mere consultation, cannot continue to be normal.
More resources are needed, both human and hospital capacity, but we also need a new organizational model of the universal health system, which allows an urgent response to these problems in the region.
All parties talk about the health issue in the Algarve, but IL is the only party that presents real and concrete proposals that allow an immediate response to this problem.
The economy. There is an inability to promote economic diversification in the Algarve.
I believe that a strong commitment to reducing bureaucracy and creating attractive conditions for attracting new businesses and new companies will be essential for the Algarve to become less and less dependent on Tourism.
Housing and mobility. The population of the Algarve, according to data from the Census21, has grown by 3,7% in the last 10 years, but without homes, people cannot establish themselves with dignity.
And without transport, they cannot move around, the lack of an integrated and functional transport network makes it very difficult for any Algarve person to live and work if they do not have their own car.
Our priority will also be to make the Algarve grow and allow our young people not to be forced to emigrate.

SI – What led you to accept being the head of the list for the party or political force you represent?

CV – The notion of the urgent need for a political alternative in our region. For over 47 years we have witnessed the alternation of power between two political forces and, in these 47 years, the Algarve region has been forgotten.
I have a 5 year old son and I decided to get off the couch and fight for the future of my son and his generation. I want them to be able to choose the Algarve to build their future, just as I hope that my parents' and grandparents' generation can have the quality of life they deserve.
Access to healthcare, housing and more wages is what all Algarve people deserve. And I believe that the answer to these problems lies in the program of the Liberal Initiative. The Algarve needs to grow, and to grow it needs to change and, to change, it needs the Liberal Initiative. It was impossible not to accept this challenge.

SI – What are the expectations and objectives of your political force in relation to these Legislative Elections?

CV – The Liberal Initiative intends to form a parliamentary group, which will have as many deputies as the Portuguese want to give it.
After January 30th, if it is possible to form a majority that is the true alternative to the socialism that continues to stagnate Portugal, we will be available to be part of a solution, provided that this solution has the necessary reformist impetus to make Portugal grow.

SI – What remains to be done in the Algarve?

CV – In the Algarve, there is a lack of creating measures for people and thinking about people.
There is a lack of quality health, which does not exist today, as a result of the degradation of public services, there is a lack of schools that respond to the real needs of the population, there is a lack of transport so that people can travel and easily accept a job in the neighboring municipality, which today it is impossible to do, and there is obviously a lack of housing so that the Algarve can live with dignity and so that the professionals who are lacking in our companies can settle in the Algarve.

SI – Health is a deficit sector in the Algarve and in the country. What measures do you recommend to solve the health problems in the Algarve?

CV – In terms of installed capacity, that is, inhabitants per bed in hospitals, we are the second worst region in the country, even without taking into account the effects of tourism and seasonality.
In terms of waiting lists, we have reached completely irresponsible levels in which non-priority patients become priority patients because they are not treated in a timely manner.
At this time, the Hospital Faro, for example, records a wait time of 432 days for general surgery on a non-priority cancer patient, while the maximum guaranteed response time that is set is just 60 days.
We need to expand the installed capacity of the Health sector in the Algarve and attract more health professionals.
However, we consider that the increase in resources, by itself, both material and human, is not enough.
It is necessary to rethink the organizational structure of the Health sector in Portugal and the Algarve will benefit greatly from this reorganization.
Access to quality health care should not depend on a person's income and should be universal.
Therefore, the Liberal Initiative proposes a comprehensive reform of the SNS, in which the user will be able to access the public, private or social sector.

SI – And what about Hospital Central do Algarve? When should you move forward and why?

The Hospital Central do Algarve is essential to allow the expansion of the installed capacity of beds in hospitals in the region.
Considering the deficit levels in the region in this statistic, it is urgent to move forward with the construction of the Central Hospital. However, the urgency does not preclude the need for adequate planning.
We want a Hospital Central do Algarve that is qualitatively superior to the current existing resources, but also economically efficient.
It is essential that the Hospital Central do Algarve is adapted to the needs of the region and the Algarve, in which the installed capacity is greater than the current one, ideally with the capacity to expand according to demographic changes, and which corresponds to modern requirements for a project of this nature. magnitude.

SI – The previous government advanced with the Decentralization of Competences to the Municipalities. What balance do you make of this process?

CV – The transfer of competences is essential to bring Algarve citizens closer to decision-making centers and we hope that this decentralization is just the first step towards a more comprehensive political-administrative decentralization.
However, the decentralization of competences to the Municipalities is still, in several areas and municipalities, at the beginning of the process, so we will need to verify, in practice, the effects of this process.
At this time, we regret that there are several delays in the transfer of competences processes.
In the case of the Health area, for example, there are still administrative procedures to clarify less than three months from April 1, 2022, the supposed day of the total transfer of competences.
Therefore, it is unlikely that municipalities will be able to launch tenders for contracting the necessary services and, consequently, transfer deadlines will probably not be able to be met.
In any case, we believe that, in the short term, the effects of the decentralization of competences will be mostly positive.
However, we still have some reservations about the long-term effects, especially regarding the effects on the budget balance that areas, such as health and education, may have for some Algarve municipalities.

SI – Should a future government move forward with Regionalization? Why or why not?

CV – A future government should move forward with decentralization. It is much more important to distribute the power that is concentrated in the Ministries in Lisbon, to bring decision-making power closer to the citizens, to allow those who live far from the capital to choose what is best for their geographies.
For us, it makes no sense for the Ministry of Education to choose a teacher for a school in Aljezur, or for simple licensing processes to wait months for approvals from bodies that are unaware of our realities.
But the word regionalization has to be clarified. If, by regionalization, we mean the creation of a new administrative layer, of new political positions that would have a high cost for taxpayers, of new bureaucracies that would serve to make people's lives even more difficult, we are against it.
If, on the contrary, it means reducing the centralist structure of the country and transferring power to the regions, without increasing or even decreasing the total cost of the State, we will always be in favor.

SI – In the Assembly of the Republic, there have been resolutions to end tolls on Via do Infante or, at least, to introduce significant discounts. What do you think about this topic and what solutions do you recommend?

CV – The solution to be found for Via do Infante will have to be coherent with the solutions for other regions.
In principle, the Liberal Initiative is in favor of the user-pays principle, however, it is true that the alternative that the Algarve and those who visit us have at their disposal, the EN125, does not have the least conditions.
It will be essential to continue the work of requalifying the EN125, so that it is no longer a 150 kilometer street.
In the particular case of Via do Infante, it is essential that the renegotiation of the concession, at the end of the current one, be carried out through a competitive tender, to ensure the lowest cost for the user and taxpayer, as well as guaranteeing a better quality maintenance. high.

SI – At the beginning of the current pandemic crisis, the Government announced a specific plan for the Algarve, which never came to fruition. What does Algarve Tourism need to recover from the pandemic?

CV – To recover from the pandemic, tourist companies need to be able to work. Companies need planning stability, so it is important to find a framework that allows them to adapt to the pandemic reality and reduce restrictions on activity, as has been the case in the last two years.
We need to release the tax burden on companies in general, but this measure will be essential in the area of ​​tourism.
We need to match tourist companies before the tax authorities. It makes no sense for companies that are part of the same sector to be subject to different VAT. Golf, Marinas continue to have the maximum VAT and are companies that greatly contribute to the growth of tourism in the Algarve.
We urgently need to reduce bureaucracy. A small business owner in the tourism sector is easily entangled in roles and entities, not knowing who decides what and, above all, when.
And small and medium-sized companies wait years for licenses to be able to see their investment begin to pay off.

SI – In the case of more fractious issues, such as regionalization, tolls on Via do Infante and health, among others, if you are elected, will you vote for the AR according to your conviction, even if it goes against the guidelines of your party?

CV – Liberals are, by definition, free people who think for their own heads. Hardly a liberal would vote against his convictions.

SI – Do you want to add any more topics or questions?

The education. Unfilled timetables, classes without teachers, are some of the examples of situations that take the Algarve to the bottom of the table in terms of national school rankings.
Improving teaching must be a constant priority. Providing schools with greater autonomy to adapt to local realities and improve the quality of teaching, as well as valuing the importance of teachers in the transmission of knowledge are essential measures.
Allowing students' parents to choose schools freely, both at public and private levels, to ensure continuous improvement in education, is one of the proposals of the Liberal Initiative.
But not only that, because, often, the lack of knowledge of the regions, leads a student who could take classes at a school 12 kilometers from home to have to travel 20 kilometers to study, because of his zip code.
Improving teaching and changing the organizational form cannot be dogma.
We need to take advantage of the capacity of our teachers and students and, above all, we need to be able to enable them to achieve the desired success.
The Algarve needs to grow, to grow it needs to change and to change it needs the Liberal Initiative.