The Malta Independent 12 November 2019, Tuesday

Watch: ‘Budget does not solve anything’, Adrian Delia says

Albert Galea Monday, 14 October 2019, 23:17 Last update: about 28 days ago

PN leader Adrian Delia was unimpressed by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna's two-and-a-half hour Budget presentation in Parliament, saying in a press conference on Monday night that the government's budget "does not solve anything" and is filled with recycled promises.

Delia said that there were no measures that would help vulnerable people come out of their social situation, no measures to help youths move forward in their lives, and that there isn't a single economic sector which the government is identifying for investment.

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He said that the COLA adjustment of €3.49 per week does not even start to help deal with rising prices and inflation, noting that it does  not even compensate for a week's worth of shopping.  He noted that Eurostat had found that there was a 2.9% increase in the price of food, noting that an increase of €4.35 per week was needed just to make up for this.

Delia said that there were no measures to address the weight that 12,000 new immigrants will add to the rental market, while there was similarly no plan or vision beyond infrastructural works that are necessary one way or another for  how to deal with the 28,000 new cars that are added to Malta's roads each year.

Moving onto the financial sector, he said that 12% of Malta's GDP was down to industries such as iGaming and Banking which the government is trying to sustain but which it is struggling to due to its loss in reputation, before noting that there were no solutions for attracting backs and investment into these sectors.

He said that the fact that no new economic sector or investment initiative was revealed shows that the only solution that the government has for Malta's economy is to keep importing foreign workers to work in precarious circumstances.  

Delia noted that while it was the government's obligation to do what it had done in the pensions sector, they had put nobody's mind at rest as to how they will ensure that these pensions remain sustainable. Furthermore, Delia said that in spite of the fact that Prime Minister Muscat had spoken time and time again about the creation of a new middle class and of people having small riches, nowhere in two and a half hours was it said how this would happen.

He noted that no financial incentives were given to educators, half of whom are already contemplating on leaving the profession and who are the least paid in Europe, while he noted that the government's stance on farming and fisheries had markedly changed from being unimportant last year, to being important this year.  Delia noted that the government had replicated what the Opposition had said about this sector almost word for word, but had failed to state how it would help, incentivise, or at least sustain the farming industry.

He noted that there is an institutional deficit where the government continues to hide and refuses to say how it will sustain the pillars of rule of law in Malta, while he also noted that the supposed progress on the fast-ferry between Malta and Gozo is a lie as all that has happened is the cancellation of the tender.

Asked by The Malta Independent whether with the number of environmental measures in the budget he felt that the government was now giving priority to the environment, Delia said that this was not the case, and described the measures proposed as "cosmetic tampering" while lamenting the lack of proposals for the fight against climate change, even though the Opposition had proposed the creation of a parliamentary committee to specifically discuss this.

He said that the government is looking to 2050 when it hasn't even reached the 10% target for renewable energy that Malta had to reach by 2020, a target which, he said, it has failed to reach even though it was the lowest target that could be set. 

 

Video: Alenka Falzon

 


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