‘Minimum wage should have been increased’ – Alternattiva Demokratika

Alternattiva Demokratika insists government should have increased minimum wage in 2017 Budget, introduced incentives for people to travel by bicycle 

Green party Alternattiva Demokratika insisted that the government should have increased the minimum wage, rather than merely increase in-work benefits for low-income earners.

“People who employ staff on wages that aren’t adequate for them to live a decent life should shoulder responsibility,” AD chairperson Arnold Cassola said. “The minimum wage should be revised periodically to reflect the quality of life that we aspire to. It is outrageous that the way the minimum wage is calculated hasn’t changed since the 1970s. With all its rhetoric about how well the economy is doing, I would have expected the government to take heed of Caritas’ advice in its latest report and increase the minimum wage.”

Cassola welcomed the increased expenditure on people with disability, as well as the announcement that rent subsidies for low-income earners living in private residences will be doubled. However, he warned that the latter incentive was not enough to make good for inflation in the rental property market, and could indeed prove more symbolic than effective.

He hit out at the announcement that stamp duty on sales of houses in Gozo will be reduced from 5% to 2% for the next year, warning that it could pave the way for “savage development and speculation that will continue harming the quality of life of Gozitans”.

AD was also skeptical of the government’s plans to combat Malta’s traffic problem, insisting that it should have provided incentives for people to start travelling by bicycle and electric bicycle.

“The initiative to give 18 year olds free public transport is a good idea, but investment in public transport isn’t enough to solve the traffic problem,” Cassola said. “Emphasis on junctions and new roads will only rub salts into the wounds and will solve nothing, because the real problem is that there are too many cars on the road.”

More in Budget 2017