Portugal approves budget for 2014 amidst austerity protests

On Tuesday Portuguese law makers passed a budget for 2014. Many of the measures contained in the budget have proved controversial such as increasing the time of the working week in the public sector from 35 hours to 40 hours.

During the pre-vote debate trade unionists protested in front of the parliament demanding an end to cuts in public sector wages and pensions.

The austerity measures to be introduced have faced several challenges and some measures have even been struck down by the constitutional court.

Despite claiming that there are no more sources of revenue, there is speculation amongst the Portuguese media that the government may raise value-added tax.

The 2014 budget is the last delivered under the conditions of the European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout. The government will need to reduce its budget deficit to four per cent of gross domestic product by the end of 2013.