Labour can do better - Joseph Muscat

Labour leader Joseph Muscat says a Labour government would do "more and better."

PL leader Joseph Muscat. Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday
PL leader Joseph Muscat. Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday

The government has not maintained its 2008 electoral promise because the income tax reduction will happen over three years and the tax bands were not changed to ensure that everyone benefits from a tax cut, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said.

Describing the 2013 Budget as "the final act of the Nationalist government," Muscat said that "GonziPN no longer understands how the economy works." Muscat said the Budget measures could only be guaranteed by Labour.

The PL leader said the2013 Budget was presented by a coalition government which does not know whether the budget will be approved, adding that "GonziPN" was responsible for this uncertainty.

Addressing the media minutes after the end of finance minister Tonio Fenech's budget speech, Muscat said that a new Labour government would maintain the foundation of the budget if this not approved in the coming weeks.

"We will uphold the budget's foundation by maintaining the same expenditure and income levels," Muscat said.

Stressing that a new Labour government will put more money in people's pockets, Muscat said a new government will "do more and do better" and will not wait till the end of a legislature to implement its programme.

Branding the budget irresponsible, Muscat said: "We are responsible because we will maintain the foundations of the budget and the positive measures announced today."

Insisting that a new Labour government will reduce utility bills, Muscat said that a new government will still be able to implement its promise to reduce utility bills while upholding the foundations of the budget presented today.

Muscat said the energy bills could be reduced by implementing a realistic and doable energy plan which can be introduced without increasing the government's subsidies.

Turning his attention to the income tax cuts, Muscat said: "A limited number of people will benefit from the tax cuts since the tax bands were not changed."

Muscat said many persons will not benefit from any tax reductions while minimum wage earners will start paying income tax. "This uncovers the anti-social face of this government," he said.

Asked how a Labour government will make amends to the tax cuts which will put persons earning €14,500 on a par with others earning €60,000, the Labour leader said: "The middle class is worse off following these tax cuts and while those who received a tax cut will still enjoy the cuts granted today,  we will keep those who did not receive a tax cut  in mind and see what can be done. "

He said nobody will be deprived of what was granted in the 2013 Budget but "we [Labour] will cater for those who were forgotten by this budget."

Muscat called on government to introduce the cost of living increase and other benefits immediately without waiting for the budget's approval and promised that "once elected, a Labour government will grant all increases immediately, backdated to 1 January 2013." 

More in Budget 2013
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So the revenue and expenditure of the budget are sound and solid according to Muscat, naybe that is why he was smiling throught the budget speech because someone else did the homework and he knows he is incapable of doing same. So he critises the tax adjustment for the top bands now, did he already forget that he said that he wants to take care of the middle class? I ask what's wrong with giving something back to those who have supported the 'needy' for all these years? I myself have never benefitted from children's allowance for my youngest son and daughter because I earned more then LM 10,000. So I ask if he is in government in the next legisliture will he be reducing the tax rate at one go, or is his meandering critisism just hot air?
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So the revenue and expenditure of the budget are sound and solid according to Muscat, naybe that is why he was smiling throught the budget speech because someone else did the homework and he knows he is incapable of doing same. So he critises the tax adjustment for the top bands now, did he already forget that he said that he wants to take care of the middle class? I ask what's wrong with giving something back to those who have supported the 'needy' for all these years? I myself have never benefitted from children's allowance for my youngest son and daughter because I earned more then LM 10,000. So I ask if he is in government in the next legisliture will he be reducing the tax rate at one go, or is his meandering critisism just hot air?
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So the revenue and expenditure of the budget are sound and solid according to Muscat, naybe that is why he was smiling throught the budget speech because someone else did the homework and he knows he is incapable of doing same. So he critises the tax adjustment for the top bands now, did he already forget that he said that he wants to take care of the middle class? I ask what's wrong with giving something back to those who have supported the 'needy' for all these years? I myself have never benefitted from children's allowance for my youngest son and daughter because I earned more then LM 10,000. So I ask if he is in government in the next legisliture will he be reducing the tax rate at one go, or is his meandering critisism just hot air?
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Nobody expects the opposition to praise the measures proposed in the budget in so many words but the fact that they promised to copy them, if elected, proves that they agree with them in principle. So much so that JM said Labour will do better if elected, implying that the measures are good. Words like 'anti-social face' etc are mere waffle. But then, JM has to come up with something.