The Nationalist Party today condemned Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for “misleading” the elderly with the declaration that the national minimum pension would this week rise for the first time in 25 years. The PN said the PM was trying to score some political points but what he said was “a lie from beginning to end.”
In a statement signed by MPs Paula Mifsud Bonnici and Robert Cutajar it also accused him of “conveniently forgetting” that the PN government had given the elderly the full COLA rise and had always introduced the €300 grant. The last administration, the PN said, had also introduced measures to incentivize elderly persons to keep working. Thousands of people have kept working beyond their retirement age, it said.
The PN said that on the other hand Joseph Muscat was discriminating between the elderly. It said that only a minority and not all pensioners would get an increase. Up to 75,000 pensioners would not get any rise.
Joseph Muscat does not truly want our elderly to have a better quality life, the party said, insisting that the PM made the people around him rich while forgetting the rest. The increase of 2,500 elderly persons who are now at risk of poverty is proof of this. “The elderly have become victims of Joseph Muscat’s misleading tactics. While he lies to them they have to pay for his government’s corruption,” the PN said.
In reply, the Labour Party said the PN had not yet understood the difference between the cost of living adjustment and an effective increase over and above the COLA.
Simon Busuttil was now speaking about quality of life from the Opposition benches. But when his party was in government he had no problem with increasing energy tariffs, a tax on minimum wage and out of stock medicines.
The PL said the government Dr Busuttil had formed part of wanted to tax pensioners who earned as much as a minimum wage by 15%. This would have pushed these people closer to the poverty line. Simon Busuttil’s only proposal today was to raise social security contributions for employers and employees.
On the other hand, the current administration had “grabbed the bull by its horns” and increased pensions by €4 to €9 a week. In this way, pensions will reach 60% of the average income by 2027. This was possible because Malta now had a strong economy, the PL said.