ADPD blasts budget that creates culture of dependency

Green Party says government using grants and hand-outs to create a culture of dependency

Finance minister Clyde Caruana delivers his Budget speech. Photo: James Bianchi
Finance minister Clyde Caruana delivers his Budget speech. Photo: James Bianchi

The Green Party ADPD has accused the government of playing a double game in its budget rhetoric, by playing down “collusion” with its private hospital concessionaires while doling out handouts in its Budget 2024.

ADPD deputy chairperson and EP candidate Mina Jack Tolu said the Commissioner of Police was still dragging his feet on an investigation into the Steward hospitals deal.

“A fair Malta for whom?” Tolu said of the Budget theme. “Fair with the strong and severe with the small fry? The culture of impunity that reigns in the country has led to scandals such as the social benefits fraud, with the intent of guaranteeing people’s votes. So far, some of those fraudulently receiving benefits have been brought to justice, however the fixers and enablers of this fraud have not been charged yet. What’s fair in all this?”

Tolu said that with a government that preaches fiscal prudence when it squanders public funds like there’s no tomorrow, “even objectively fair measures assume additional significance because they form part of a political plan that wants to create a culture of dependency.”

Deputy chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said ADPD wanred a general review of the minimum wage so that it reflects present-day needs for a decent living. He cited the Caritas report for a decent minimum wage that would have to increase by €4,000 per year, apart from the increase in the cost of living, to ensure a decent level of ‘living’ for a family of two adults and two children.

“This translates into the need for an increase of €78 per week in the minimum wage. This contrasts greatly with the increase agreed between the social partners in the MCESD. The €18 per week increase spread over four years is insufficient and continues to undermine the dignity of work. It is better than nothing but still woefully insufficient.”

Cacopardo said government’s refusal of a serious revision of the minimum wage meant that there was no political will to make work pay. “Government prefers a politics of handouts and subsidies to continue strengthening a culture of clientelism and dependence. This is a budget that reinforces a culture of dependence on the benevolence of the government.”