Labour manifesto unveiled: call for discussion on voluntary euthanasia

The Labour Party election manifesto contains 1,000 proposals ranging from community regeneration to women’s concerns, from tax relief to sensitive life and death issues 

The Labour Party’s is proposing a “mature discussion” on voluntary euthanasia for those with a terminal illness and better access to sterilisation for women who want it.

The two proposals form part of the party’s 288-page manifesto approved this evening by the general conference held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.

The manifesto comes in a square booklet that contains 1,000 proposals and four ruled pages at the end to jot down notes.

The manifesto, ‘Malta Flimkien’, lays down Labour’s vision for an improved quality of life. It contains all the measures the party has unveiled so far since the start of the election campaign and much more.

A key proposal concerns the drafting of a national socio-economic regeneration plan to stimulate economic activity and improve the quality of life in localities that have fallen behind. The PL is promising to complete this study in the first year of the legislature.

The manifesto says that these localities will be prioritised for infrastructural investment, community projects and urban greening.

Tied with this commitment is a pledge to grant €15,000 to start-ups that open shop in the identified localities. Businesses already resident there will benefit from government aid through the financing of 50% of renovation costs up to a maximum of €15,000, and the financing of 30% of the company’s expenditure on wages up to a maximum of €6,000 for every worker.

The proposal is intended to spread the wealth across all communities and ties in with the party’s flagship proposal to invest €700 million in large urban greening projects.

The manifesto lists the projects already publicised such as the pedestrianisation of St Anne Street in Floriana by shifting the road underground and the roofing over of the approach road towards the Santa Venera tunnels.

But the manifesto also pledges a study to determine whether it is possible to reconnect both sides of Marsa split by December 13 Road through a similar roofing project.

These projects are intended to create new green spaces for the community to enjoy and are 

the party’s response to the growing call for open areas within urban environments.

The manifesto also pledges that the land in Żonqor that will be transferred back to government from Sadeen Education will be added to the Nwadar National Park.

Birżebbuġa will also get its fair share of investment in new open spaces for recreational purposes. The manifesto pledges that the Wied Dalam aviation fuel depot near Borg in-Nadur will be closed down and the San Luċjan oil tanks in Qajjenza will be removed.

A new Labour government will transform the San Luċjan area into “a sustainable innovation hub” with a project that incorporates open public spaces, a new bay, sustainable businesses, gastronomy and cultural and entertainment attractions.

The PL is also making a clear commitment to ensure that Ħondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo will not be developed. The party is also pledging that ODZ land taken in exceptional circumstances for the construction of a public hospital or school will be replaced by an equivalent land area of public land within development boundaries that will be transformed into a public open space.

The manifesto also makes reference to the metro project but insists work will only start if further technical studies show it is viable.

The manifesto also details various tax incentives and benefits intended to leave more money in people’s pockets. The tax refund scheme will be retained and the maximum amount increased but the tax-free band will also widen by a further €1,700.

Targeting the current issue of inflation, the PL is promising to counter the rise in prices by increasing pensions, stipends, in-work benefits, free childcare and transport for students, maintaining stable utility bills and reducing income tax.

Key takeaways from the PL manifesto

Tax-free portion of income will increase by €1,700 for single, married and parent rate computations. Tax refunds will continue being given with the maximum amount rising to €165 for those on the lowest incomes.

The tax rebate on expenses for extracurricular activities will increase to €300 from €100 and those who do not pay tax will receive a grant of €300 per child.

An annual tax credit of €500 per year for three years will be given to parents whose children continue studying beyond secondary school. Those who do not pay tax will receive the equivalent amount as a grant. Students living on their own will receive the money as a grant.

Children’s Allowance will increase by €90 every year for the next five years, doubling the existing flat rate amount of €450 per child by the end of the legislature.

In-work benefits will increase by €50 per year per child for four consecutive years.

The one-off baby bonus awarded for the birth or adoption of a child will increase to a minimum of €500.

Conservation programmes for native species such as the wild rabbit will be set up and the project to reintroduce the barn owl in Buskett will be extended to Magħtab.

The concept of waste mining at Għallis and Ta’ Żwejra landfills will be explored to extract recyclable materials.

Investment in large land-based batteries to store energy generated by renewables.

More technical studies will be carried out on the environmental, socio-economic and geological impact of the metro proposal. If it results the metro is viable, work will start immediately.

Electric cars will get green licence plates to be easily identifiable for priority driving in bus lanes and parking.

All public service cars will shift to electrical vehicles in the next five years.

Launch a consultation on whether 16-year-olds should sit for an exam to obtain a licence to drive scooters with engines not larger than 125cc.

The aviation fuel depot at Wied Dalam in Birżebbuġa will be shut down.

The San Luċjan oil tanks in Birżebbuġa will be removed and the area transformed into a sustainable innovation hub with a project that incorporates open public spaces, a new bay, sustainable businesses, gastronomy and cultural and entertainment attractions.

Manifesto says it is time to move ahead with land reclamation projects, which could be useful for the production of clean energy.

Contraceptive and morning-after pill, and IUD will be offered for free from pharmacies and public health centres.

The HPV vaccine currently given only to girls will also be offered to boys for free.

In first 100 days, a Labour government will change the IVF law to enable couples who have had unsuccessful IVF cycles, those with a medical history and others who have miscarried to benefit from the latest scientific technology.

The manifesto calls for a national discussion on voluntary euthanasia for people with terminal illness.

VAT on menstrual products will be reduced and free menstrual products will be distributed in schools.

Adult women who voluntarily want to get sterilised not to have children should be able to access such an intervention without prejudice.

Virginity testing will be criminalised.

Gender reassignment surgery will be provided for free on the national health service.

Journalism and pluralism will be recognised as the fourth pillar of democracy in the Constitution.