[WATCH] PN slams reintroduction of VAT on all commercial activity

Shadow transport minister says that Malta's traffic problems have deteriorated under the Labour government but refuses to propose solutions to it. 

Opposition MPs hit out at Budget 2015. Video: Chris Mangion

Over 6000 people will be affected by the reintroduction of VAT for those who earn less than €7000 a year through part-time self-employment, shadow competitiveness minister Kristy Debono said.

“Despite [Finance Minister] Edward Scicluna having devoted a whole chapter on the reduction of bureaucracy in the budget, this measure will hit around 6000 people with added bureaucracy as they will have to register for VAT,” Debono said. “However, Scicluna only spoke about it for two minutes in his budget speech and didn’t speak about its administrative costs, nor how many people will be affected by it, nor how much money the government will make through it.”

Through this budgetary scheme, everyone who carried out any type of commercial activity will have to register with the VAT Department as from next year. However, people who do not exceed amount of sales per year will not have to submit a return to the VAT Department. Scicluna said that this scheme is intended to counter tax evasion.

Meanwhile, shadow transport minister Tony Bezzina hit out at the budget’s “lack of direction and solution” with regards Malta’s traffic problems.

“The traffic problem has got worse under the Labour government, vehicle licenses have increased, and Malta’s fuel prices are the highest in Europe,” Mizzi said. “Public transport has deteriorated since the government took over its operations and the people will now have to fork out an additional €10 million through the subsidy being given to the new public transport operators.”

However, when asked about his proposed solutions to the traffic problem, Bezzina said that i"t’s up to the government to come up with solutions". He added that the government had delayed projects such as the Kappara Junction and the Intelligent Transport System that were started by the previous Nationalist government.

Shadow social solidarity minister Clyde Puli said that the budget did not include means to combat poverty.

“New taxes on mobile phones and cement won’t help eradicate poverty, and prices of gas, social housing, and MATSEC examination fees all increased before the budget was announced,” Puli said. “The government reduced electricity bills but increased cost burdens elsewhere. They are putting money in one pocket and taking it out of the other.”
He also criticised the government for not sticking to their pre-electoral promise to eradicate poverty. 
"Poverty has increased in its thousands under the Labour government and the government's plan according to its new poverty stategy is to try and eradicate poverty in ten years' time," Puli said. "Its pre-electoral promise was to eradicate poverty by 2018. Even here, the government is off-track."

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