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Lisbon City Council rejects using tourist tax to eradicate homelessness

Lisbon, July 20, AZERTAC

The Lisbon city council today rejected the use of part of the tourist tax revenue for the eradication of homelessness in the city, arguing that it “legally would easily be called into question,” according to the Portugal News.

The tourist tax began to be applied in January 2016 on the overnight stays of national tourists and foreigners in hotels or local accommodations. Since January this year the tax was increased from one to two euros per night. The councilor of Finance João Paulo Saraiva said that “when a fee is created it must be associated with a consideration.” “In this case there is no direct relationship” between tourism and homelessness, said the mayor, noting that most cases of homelessness have nothing to do with the housing market. When asked about the possibility of increasing the financial allocation for homelessness João Paulo Saraiva replied that “if this is the will of the municipal authorities it will certainly be an area to be reinforced.” Councilman Manuel Grilo said in June that he had the ambition to take all 361 homeless people off the streets by 2021, at a meeting of the municipality where the Municipal Plan for the Homeless Person (PMPSA) 2019-2021 was unanimously approved for submission to public discussion.

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