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A vote for prosperity

Labour MP Charles Mangion writes: The electorate is once again at an important crossroad. We either choose to make our society a more prosperous and fairer one, or revert to the past

25 May 2017, 1:01pm
This risk of taking the economic success achieved in the last four years for granted is a real one
This risk of taking the economic success achieved in the last four years for granted is a real one
As the election campaign enters its final stage the electorate reflects on the choices it has when voting takes place on 3rd June. This election is about whether to continue on the road of economic and social prosperity or to venture in unknown territory by electing a disconnected coalition that can only lead to uncertainty and chaos.

Economic growth with the jobs that it creates risks being taken for granted as the scaremongering of the PN and its allies takes on a hysterical tone. Public institutions and regulators are attacked because they refuse to be caught up in a partisan politics. In a desperate attempt to return to power the PN leadership tries to take the moral high ground when we all know that almost 25 years of uninterrupted power had led to abuses that alienated the majority of the electorate.

The engine of economic growth needs to be fine-tuned from time to time to ensure that it continue to create prosperity. The Labour government in the last four years not only attracted new investment to Malta, but created the social infrastructure to ensure that the long term prospects of the economy remain strong. Prime minister has shown that Labour works well for the economy. His business friendly approach has re established confidence, and stability and in turn these have whetted the appetite to invest in the private sector.

Good incentives were created to encourage more female workers to join the workforce. Free child care facilities went a long way to encourage more young mothers to return to work. The unemployed were given training opportunities to beef up their skills base and find employment. Students who were struggling to make a success in their educational training were offered enhanced vocational education.

Taxation was reduced to encourage workers to work more and keep more of their salary or wages for whatever expenditure they planned. The minimum wage was increased and it will be increased further in the coming years. The cost of energy supplies to households and industry were reduced to manageable levels, in order to enhance competiveness within the economy and improve the purchasing power of families. 

But so much more remains to be done. Politics after all is work in progress and for a social democratic government the distribution of wealth to enhance cohesion in society is always a guiding principle. If re-elected, The Labour Party has promised to invest more in education, health pensions and social housing to break the poverty trap for those who do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.

Labour acknowledges that good governance is an essential pillar of any democracy. We have learned from mistakes of the past and as the Labour leader Joseph Muscat said, if Labour is re-elected, it will put into place constitutional measures to ensure that the checks and balances that exist in our democracy are strengthened.

This is particularly important as our financial services industry comes under attack form much bigger countries who are not happy with the economic success of Malta. With limited natural resources, Malta, like many small countries, has built a legal tax system that together with other competitive advantages attracts substantial direct foreign investment. 

Unfortunately, the bipartisan consensus for supporting this industry that employs thousands of workers seems to be under attack by the PN. While paying lip service to the importance of this industry, they continuously undermine its credibility by linking local political skirmishes with the mistaken perception of some local and foreign journalists about this important local industry. 

The other choice that the electorate has is to go back to the past where the same old faces and mind-sets that dominated the PN administration for more than two decades find their way again to power. This time it will be even more dangerous to adopt the blueprint of the past because the PN in power will have to satisfy the whims of minority coalition partners that, even if not winning any seats in Parliament, will ask for their pound of flesh from the major coalition partners.

This risk of taking the economic success achieved in the last four years for granted is a real one. While there are many aspects to prosperity that go beyond economic growth, job creation is undoubtedly the best method to promote social mobility. 

The electorate is once again at an important crossroad. We either choose to make our society a more prosperous and fairer one, or revert to the past where the privilege of your connections with important people determines your future. 

A new Labour administration is the only guarantee to more economic and social prosperity for all.

Charles Mangion is a Labour MP

DealToday
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