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Our country's best days

PL candidate Deo Debattista writes: We all have a role to play in building a better future for everyone, because our best days are still ahead of us

18 May 2017, 1:04pm
We have taken a proactive approach, increasing innovation and investment that will continue to enhance our health system like never before
We have taken a proactive approach, increasing innovation and investment that will continue to enhance our health system like never before
Just over four years ago, people voted for a new government, for change, and for a better future. We knew this would not be easy, but we had a roadmap that was successful. Indeed, we can say with some confidence that today we are living in our country's best days.

I am convinced that people will make the right choice for our country and for our children. I can still remember a Nationalist Party’s billboard saying “Labour won't work”. Well, today, Labour works, and how! In four years we delivered on our promises. We invested heavily in our hospitals. Today, medicines never run out of stock. Never-ending waiting lists are a thing of the past. We have taken a proactive approach, increasing innovation and investment that will continue to enhance our health system like never before.

We have the lowest unemployment rate in Malta's history, being one of the lowest anywhere in Europe. The economy is improving lives, and now it’s time for everyone to get their share of our country's success. True, we are not perfect, and we have done mistakes. But, from my door-to-door conversations, I know that people recognize this government's role in getting exceptional results from a steady economy that never faltered in the last four years. We have achieved record economic growth. Tourism hit record growth. There was a turnaround of our country’s finances from a deficit to a registered surplus of over €100 million for the first time in 36 years.

Closing the Marsa power station was another milestone in Labour’s effort to create a healthier environment. This will improve the very air we breathe, securing a better quality of life for everyone. From an economic point of view, the energy plan secured cheaper and stable energy bills for families and businesses. This government increased the minimum wage for the first time in 27 years, and all this was possible because of a strong and stable economy.

I am proud of this government's achievements which reduced the number of people in absolute poverty from 39,000 to 19,000. More people today can live a decent life and move forward. This confirms that we were elected on a very strong social agenda, and our plan has delivered.

Unfortunately, we had to put up with hatred and divisiveness from the Opposition. This has intensified since the campaign was launched. I say this with a heavy heart because I believe in the politics of dialogue and consensus. People now have a clear choice in front of them: making this country better than ever before or stopping half-way through.

I want us to continue to deliver together, and as one country. In this spirit we delivered big way. Retaining its inclusive mission, Labour reduced utility bills by 25% while improving benefits and widening the workforce for people with disability. We have managed to build an inclusive economy that respects everyone. We increased pensions for the first time in 20 years. We also created more than 28,000 full-time jobs, increased part-time jobs, and launched benefits that put more women in the workforce. This all happened because we worked together as a country.

So we must choose between a determined Prime Minister: a man who keeps his promises and delivers on his word, who wants to bring us together as a nation; and on the other side, an Opposition that wants to turn back the clock. The choice is either Joseph Muscat or Simon Busuttil.

Within a few hours of our Prime Minister’s launching the Labour Party’s campaign and electoral slogan "Our country's best days", we came out with a number of remarkable proposals, sustainable, well-planned and fully costed. Tax cuts that will boost people’s wealth and business, while some 190,000 people earning up to €60,000 will be applicable to tax refunds of between €200 and €340 a year. Part-time tax will go down from 15% to 10%.

Students who complete their studies on a Master's degree will be exempted from paying tax for a year and those obtaining a PhD will be exempted for the first two years. Pensions will be increasing with a positive impact on some 90,000 pensioners.

Labour continues to improve Malta’s infrastructure. If elected to a second term, Labour is pledging to resurface and plan all our roads for Malta and Gozo. After so many decades of neglect, Malta's roads will now be on a European level, making good use of EU funds, IIP and the National Development Bank to sustain a project estimated to cost €700 million.

We are aiming to better Malta’s quality of life. Public Holidays falling on a weekend will be given back to the workers. Another positive proposal is the innovative second-time buyer’s scheme which will help people move socially upward.

More so, pupils in state, private and church schools will have free supervised transport, thus helping to ease traffic. Students, children, pensioners and people with disability will be using public transport free of charge. Whilst  healthcare will remain free, a tax rebate  will  be given to those taking a health insurance. A psychiatric care hospital will be built within Mater Dei and a new Remote Patient Monitoring system will be introduced, where patients can eventually monitor their health condition from home. All cancer medicines will be given free of charge. We are being innovative to the health sector which is the key for successful results.

Our county deserves to keep on moving forward. There is so much more to be done. When we all come together we can do much more for our country. We all have a role to play in building a better future for everyone, because our best days are still ahead of us.

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