The President of the Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, said today that the autonomous region wants to keep golden visas and licenses for local accommodation (AL), and criticized the “centralised and Lisbon perspective” of the More Housing programme.
“At this moment, to turn everything back, I think it is ridiculous and it is bad for the country and it is bad for the national economy,” he said. Further adding, “Nothing justifies Madeira being covered by these set of measures that are fundamentally aimed at Lisbon and Porto.”
Miguel Albuquerque, who leads the PSD/CDS-PP regional executive, was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to a food company in Funchal, in reaction to the More Housing programme, approved by the Council of Ministers on Thursday and which will be under public discussion for a month.
“From the perspective of those who think that the State should interfere in private property, should condition the market, should tell entrepreneurs what to do, I think there is nothing good in these measures,” he said, stressing that golden visas and local accommodation act as a “scapegoat” for the Socialist government, which, he said, in seven years “has done nothing about housing”.
The governor criticised what he considers to be the “centralised and Lisbon perspective” of the national executive in assessing the country through the “problems of the capital”, forgetting the municipalities and regions that need investment, to attract foreign capital, renew the housing stock and rehabilitate historic centres.
“The real country is not Lisbon”, he stressed, adding that the More Housing programme should listen to the regions and municipalities and determine measures according to their needs.
“The reality is this: we want to keep golden visas in Madeira and we understand that it is good for the growth of high income real estate,” he said, explaining that, to counterbalance the pressure in the sector, the Regional Government has advanced with funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) for the construction of affordable housing for the middle class and young couples.
In relation to local accommodation, the governor ensures that “has not affected in any way” traditional tourism, but rather contributed to the increase in the number of overnight stays, which in 2022 reached a historical maximum of 9.6 million.
Miguel Albuquerque said that his executive will now legally analyse the possibility of “guaranteeing autonomy” in local accommodation.
At Thursday’s Council of Ministers, dedicated to housing, the Government of the Republic decided that the issuance of new local accommodation licences “will be prohibited”, with the exception of rural accommodation in municipalities in the interior of the country, where they could boost the local economy.
In addition, current local accommodation licences “will be subject to re-evaluation in 2030” and, after that date, periodically, every five years, Prime Minister António Costa announced.
Measures aimed at stimulating the rental market, as well as streamlining and incentives for construction, include the end of ‘gold’ visas.
Overall, the five axes of the More Housing programme, which will be under public discussion for a month, are: to increase the supply of properties used for housing purposes, simplify licensing processes, increase the number of houses on the rental market, combat speculation and protect families.
After the public discussion, the proposals will return to the Council of Ministers for final approval on 16 March, and then some measures will still have to go through Parliament, according to the Prime Minister.