Budget’s social measures positive, but money not all for quality of life - AD

Alternattiva Demokratika have said Budget 2019 has fallen short of offering solutions in a number of areas

 AD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo pointed out that quality of life is not measures solely by financial metrics, highlighting that the budget does not tackle other aspects which are equally important
AD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo pointed out that quality of life is not measures solely by financial metrics, highlighting that the budget does not tackle other aspects which are equally important

Alternattiva Demokratika has praised Budget 2019’s proposals which strengthen the social safety net, but said it falls short of offering solutions in areas related to the environment, traffic management and strengthening institutions

In a reaction to yesterday’s budget speech, AD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo pointed out that quality of life is not measures solely by financial metrics, highlighting that the budget does not tackle other aspects which are equally important.

AD said in a statement that while the budget noted that waste recycling was necessary, is stopped there and did not address how this effort should be integrate into a circular economy, even though the Environment Minister repeatedly boasted of how supposedly the move towards such an economy is a priority for government.

“In the entire speech, the circular economy is not mentioned once. This raises the suspicion that government has lost the plot and does not have any policy ideas on such an important aspect of the economy with its social, economic and environmental effects,” AD said.

“The speech emphasises energy generation from waste incineration which requires large volumes of waste to be viable. It is however silent on how this fits in with the stated commitment to actually reduce the volume of waste,” the party said.

“The government is trying to square the circle, on the one hand it wants to reduce waste but on the other hand it needs more and more waste to make a huge incinerator viable.”

The Budget offered “half-baked solutions” on a number of issues, AD emphasised, amongst them water policy and traffic congestion.

“It avoids altogether real and focused efforts to address the acute issue of dwellings built without wells, with the consequence that water ends up in sewers of flooding the streets,” it said about the water issue.

When it comes to traffic, although mentioning incentives to encourage the use of alternative means of transport, the Budget “ignore the roots of the problem”, AD underlined, with the government spending €100 million on road widening a year, which will “only increase congestions and push users of other modes of transport off the roads” - especially since “there is no investment in adequate infrastructure to ensure that people can commute safely using bicycles and pedelecs.”

The party said the Budget spoke of a “strategic environment plan”, but there were in fact already enough plans and reports, while action was sorely lacking.

Cacopardo said AD hoped that no more time was wasted, when what was needed is concrete and determined action to improve the environment in which we live and on which we depend for our wellbeing.

Contradictory on tax evasion

The AD chairperson pointed out a contradiction in the Budget, remarking that whole the Finance Minister declared himself against tax evasion, he at the same time failed to mention that the current government, like its predecessor, “systematically encourages foreign companies to register in Malta using the attraction of lower tax payment than they would pay in their country of origin”.

“The Finance Minister also failed to explain how the government intends to work against tax evasion, when within at the same time high officials in government opened accounts in Panama with the obvious intention of evading taxes,” he said.

“The speech also refers to the rule of law and tries again give the impression that all is well in our country. However it leaves out the most crucial aspect which will strengthen the rule of law; the launch of the constitutional convention has been conveniently forgotten,” AD said.

AD went on to mention other areas which the Budget “completely ignored”, such as creating a living  wage, integrating migrants into society, tackling social housing creatively, tourism sustainability and updating the cost of living adjustment formula.

"Overall while the budget highlights financial welfare, at the same time it loses an opportunity to make a lasting difference in a number of areas important for our quality of life that go beyond finances" Cacopardo added.

More in Budget 2019