Labour to keep budget, warts and all

A Labour government will not take away anything from what has been given in Budget 2013, but will also retain price increases.

Labour MEP Edward Scicluna with MPs Karmenu Vella and Charles Mangion.
Labour MEP Edward Scicluna with MPs Karmenu Vella and Charles Mangion.

Labour's finance and economy triumvirate today said they would not be removing anything from Tonio Fenech's budget for 2013, if government does not win the 10 December vote to pass the budget.

"I don't think we will remove anything," Labour MP Karmenu Vella said. "It would be irresponsible to reopen the consultations."

But Vella said Labour will be addressing the utility bills reduction in their first year in power if elected, although it will have to face the prospect of less revenue from income tax under a new, reduced tax rate for earners of between €19,501 and €60,000.

 "In 2013 government is estimating it will get €258 million more in tax collection, €80 million of which is income tax," Vella said. But by 2015 it will have lost €40 million under further tax cuts which the government wants reduced from 32% in 2013 to 25%. "It is obvious that other taxes will be increased."

When asked to clarify whether a Labour government would be decreasing the utility bills in its first year, Vella said that the party's proposals will be announced in their due time.

Although Labour has committed to keep the positive aspects of the 2013 budget, saying it would not take away anything from "those who had been given something", it also said that it would be adding to it so as to include those who have been "forgotten".

Reacting to the budget, Vella said this budget continued to increase the uncertainty experienced during the past legislature given that it is not yet certain whether these proposals will be implemented at the beginning of this year.

"Government is experiencing a democratic deficit, with Finance Minister Tonio Fenech himself admitting there's the risk of the budget not being approved," he said.

Yet, given Labour's commitment to implement the Nationalist government's budget and tweaking it here and there to include those who have been forgotten, it will also have to face a €5 billion debt. Vella himself said he was finding it difficult to believe that 1.2% economic growth will be reached by the end of this year.

Labour's spokesman for the economy Charles Mangion said that a PL government would be able to keep both "GonziPN's promises" and Labour's as it would be prioritising.

"We will do what this government has failed to do: better administration of the recurrent expenditure. We will not spend the millions this government spent in consultations and direct orders. We will prioritise because we will address this country's deficit and debt without burdening the taxpayer."

The MPs confirmed that they would retain government's 2% increase on fuel tax, the excise increase on cigarettes and cement.

Mangion said that a Labour government would fight for Malta to retain its Objective 1 status, which according to him was being lost because of statistics.

The three MPs vehemently denied that they were supporting Nationalist economic policy when their party chose to commit itself to implement Budget 2013 if they were to be elected.

"We simply don't want to lose around eight precious months renegotiating the budget with the European Commission when we can focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy," Mangion insisted.

According to Labour MEP Edward Scicluna, media who reported a decrease in tax had been incorrect. He said that government will be collecting €258 million more in tax collection during 2013, €80 million of which will be income tax.

He said that a Labour government would address the so-called "fiscal drag" which resulted in single computation minimum wage earners falling under the tax bracket.

Scicluna questioned whether the European Union had seen this budget, given that in its Autumn Forecast Report, the EU stated three weeks ago that it had not yet been presented with the budget.

It's quite Labour get PN.
sinjura dalli nafek bhala gurnalista brava jekk jogbok kun leali lejn il qarrejja. IL VERA FATTI KIF GRAW WAQT IL KONFERENZA HUMA DAWN.....At one point during the press conference, Mr Vella said Labour would reduce water and electricity rates from the first year. Asked at the end of the press conference to confirm that this was the case, Mr Vella denied saying the reduction would come in the first year. He then said he meant to say that this would "start to be addressed immediately". Details, he said, would be given in the manifesto which would be published once an election was called.