Budget to eradicate social benefits abuse, focus on private sector reforms - Muscat

Prime Minister says budget will abolish social benefit abuse, promote hardwork, introduce unprecedented private sector partnerships • Muscat says future generations will reap long term benefits of budgetary measures

On the eve of Monday’s much-awaited budget, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has pledged that the government will put an end to social benefit abuse, underlining, amongst others, that reforms in public transport and pthe rivate sector will be implemented.

Outlining the budgetary reforms, Muscat insisted that the budget would reward the hardworking and seek to create a new middle class characterised by greater incentives, rather than taxes.  

Addressing the party faithful at Zejtun, Muscat insisted that it is unfair and socially unjust for people to abuse of the welfare system. Instead, he said, the government will seek to put an end to this and reward hard work, rather than facilitate abuse.

“The biggest priority of tomorrow’s budget is to promote hardwork. The government will help the unemployed, it will offer training courses, and will seek to address any other issue that may hinder one’s employment. However, rest assured that if you do not want me to help you, then do not expect me to help you.”

“It is unfair that taxes are ending up in the pockets of those who do not want to work. This is social injustice and is intolerable. One needs to help himself in order to receive help, the mentality of simply registering for work must be abolished,” Muscat said.

Nevertheless, the prime minister argued that those people who are genuinely in need of social benefits - such as the disabled or the sick – will be helped, but anyone who is fit to work, must go to training.

“We will implement reforms which had been shelved for far too long. The measures might not be immediately clear why they were implemented, but the decisions will be taken with the future generations in mind. If such reforms are not implemented, the consequences will be borne by our children. Instead, the reforms will ensure that the younger generations will reap long term benefits,” Muscat said.

The PL leader also explained that the budget would introduce an “unprecedented number” of private sector partnerships. Moreover, Muscat pledged that further measures will be implemented for greater integration of the disabled.

Among other budgetary measures, the prime minister said that “these will reflect the people’s needs,” and ensure greater job creation.

Outlining the government’s measures, Muscat added that since being elected, the government introduced free childcare, reduced utility bills, income tax, duties for first time buyers, increased stipends, and it will also implement incentives for third pillar pensions.

Describing the government’s work as resulting in an “overall sense of optimism,” Muscat argued that this would sum up Monday’s budget.

“The budget will be delivered with high optimism. The government has delivered and fulfilled its promises, and will continue doing so. This optimism is being felt by the majority, people have more money in their pockets.”

“We know that not all is plain sailing, but the public knows that the measures have been implemented in a record time,” he added.

Earlier, Muscat paid tribute to Lino Spiteri. Describing Spiteri as a "historic figure of the Labour Party," Muscat praised the former minister as a person whose principles were never sidelined.

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