Budget encourages work participation, lacks incentives for job creation

Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri says training and life-long learning incentives should be given to women aged over 40.

Welcoming the free childcare centre service for working parents, Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri said the proposal made "sense" in order to encourage an active labour market.

Spiteri said the measure made sense with young women whose kids were not old enough to start going to school. "But it's important to note that Malta places first among the countries with the highest rate of women aged between 25 and 40 who join the workforce. Our problem lies with women aged over 40 and this budget lacks in incentives for this age group to join the workforce," he said.

Spiteri said most of these women do not need childcare centres, but training and incentives "to compete" with younger women who received a modern education.

"It is here where government needs to give a push. 40 plus women are very important to our economy, even to sustain our welfare state system. But more importantly, jobs must be created," he said.

The Nationalist MP said that the Budget had positive measures to encourage the return of those who have long been out of the labour market.

"However, I do feel that the government is lacking in the creation of work, the generation of new jobs."

He said that poverty could only be eradicated through increase in jobs, students who continue with the current rhythm of finding work within three years of graduating while reducing the amount of people registering for work.

"We have witnessed the first signs during the summer months, when usually we have the creation of jobs thanks to tourism but this year we experienced a reduction in employment," he said.

Spiteri argued that if government really supported the Active Labour Market Policy, then it should come up with a clear plan for work.