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Letter to the Portuguese Prime Minister
- 26-Jul-2012 - 17:50

Carta de um cidadão inglês ao Primeiro Ministro português (*)

Dear Prime Minister, I am a UK resident, but decided to purchase a holiday home in Lagos in February 2010. I currently visit the Algarve 5 times a year for vacations. Up to now, I have also brought numerous people with me throughout the year. I am therefore supporting the Portuguese economy, buying goods and services and paying appropriate Taxes.

I have a vested interest in the Algarve being a 'nice' place to visit. I am personally offended by the effective barrier you have chosen to put up (i.e. the dreadful Toll system) to make my journeys from Faro to Lagos and back as difficult and dangerous as possible. I do not enjoy driving in either direction as I have stopped using the A22 at all, because the toll system is not fit for purpose. I have previously had to spend much more time trying to pay what I owe in Toll charges than the additional journey time I currently endure on the N125.

As for having to pay for other users journeys, due to the inability of the current software system to separate out usage by more than one individual on the same day....... have you any idea how annoying this has been to a 'guest' in your country?

Talking of the N125, is this the welcome you are happy to give tourists who decide not to use the A22? The N125 is not a good advertisement for your country and the Algarve as a tourist destination in particular. If I had realised that the A22 was to become a toll road with all its many problems, I would definitely not have bought my property in Portugal. If any of my many friends or business associates (I am the senior partner in a firm of Accountants) enquires about buying property in the Algarve, I now advise them not too.

You have set the Algarve back 15 years in my view. You also appear to have gone out of your way to upset Spanish tourists. How much damage is that currently doing to your country's economy and the Algarve in particular? I assume you have studied the Algarve unemployment statistics lately?. I have.

I have also studied details of the Report issued by The Portuguese Court of Auditors in May 2012 where they advise that the contracts signed between the Government/Estradas de Portugal and the tolls concessionaires and banks, in six public-private partnerships were not submitted for approval, and had represented an increase in public expenditure of 705 million Euros up to the time the Report was issued. How predictable that the introduction of SCUT road tolls would have a negative financial impact on Portuguese taxpayers. There are also many other aspects of this report which reflect very badly on the governance of Portugal and therefore the image your country portrays to the outside world.

I have recently read that there are to be certain changes to the operation of the Toll system. With respect, you are just tinkering around the edges. I predict that tolling the SCUT roads will NEVER make a profit for Portuguese taxpayers when you also take into account the reputational damage your country has suffered, continues to suffer currently, and will suffer in the future regardless of how much you try and tinker with the toll system. The tolls should be scrapped NOW.

"Pride cometh before a fall". Why can you not admit your mistake and move on? There are many simpler ways of raising taxation. How many tourists and potential property owners do you want your country to lose forever because of the Toll system? It is upsetting a lot of people.

I thank you for your time and leave this matter with you,

Yours sincerely,

Richard A Stacey FCCA

(*) Esta carta, publicada no jornal, e que aqui reproduzimos com a devida vénia, é apenas uma das milhares manifestações de desagrado e de incompreensão face à introdução do pagamento de portagens nas ditas SCUT.
Portugal já perdeu com esta atitude muitos milhares de turistas e está a delapidar aquela que é talvez a última riqueza do país.
Não há desculpas para ignorar este facto nem será possível, no futuro, invocar-se outras desculpas quanto ao desvio do turismo para outros países.


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