Budget 2020 first sign of climate change measures, Muscat says

The government will announce a date when any new car bought will have to be electric-powered or hydrogen-powered

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at a political activity in Ghaxaq
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at a political activity in Ghaxaq

The 2020 Budget announced tomorrow will usher in the first proposals intended to mitigate climate change, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said.

Muscat has announced that the government will announce a date, among other things, when new cars bought will have to be electric-powered or hydrogen-powered.

"Tomorrow's Budget will give the first signal that our economic plan is sustainable even in the sector of climate change. In order to be truly sustainable, this is the way forward. Our biggest polluter is cars and we need to take a brave decision going forward. It will effect our entire economic model," Muscat said.

Speaking at the Labour Centre in Ghaxaq on Sunday, the Prime Minister conceded that such a transition would bring with it numerous challenges, including offering reduced utility bills for motorists who charged their cars at home using single-phase electric current, as well as infrastructural costs that came with creating charging ports across the country. 

"Sustainability is the most important aspect of planning, that what we propose isn't just implemented for a single year but is sustained for many years. We can't offer free childcare, costing the government around €20 million a year, if we're not sustainable, if we didn't know that we could cater for it every single year seven years ago.

"We can pass out the money the government has raised equally to everyone but then what happens if the Health Minister says next year that we need to introduce new medicine on the government formulary? What do we do if the Justice Minister insists that we need more resources for the court so that cases are concluded quicker?" Muscat said.

He added that while there would always be sectors of society complaining that they didn't get enough out of the Budget, it was always preferable to the government raising taxes or introducing new tariffs. 

Muscat announced that the Budget will once again increase the pensions and will focus especially on the disability sector. 

Commenting on the Opposition's participation in budgetary measures, Muscat said that the Opposition couldn't possibly be lost because it didn't know where it wanted to get to in the first place and that while this was worrying, the government was already identifying the problems of tomorrow with a view to solving them.