837 proposals in Labour’s programme

Labour unveils electoral programme containing 837 proposals spread across 20 chapters, biggest emphasis on economy and education.

Labour's electoral manifesto.
Labour's electoral manifesto.

Adorned with a neutral cover depicting the Maltese national flag fluttering in the wind and an idyllic scene of a young family out for a walk, the Labour Party's tabled its electoral manifesto for the 9 March election.

The publication, which features much of the polished and fresh-looking imagery that the party splashed across its billboards and promotional imagery over the past weeks, contains 837 proposals.

The 837 proposals are spread over 20 chapters, with the chapter dealing with the Economy receiving the lion's share of proposals, followed by the chapters dealing with 'Education', and the 'Environment, Planning, and Resources.'

Like the PN electoral programme, the Labour programme was officially unveiled during a party Extraordinary General Conference during which party delegates were called upon to vote to approve the manifesto.

The manifesto features much of the proposals which the Labour Party and party leader Joseph Muscat have been rolling out since 7 January, the day the campaign officially kicked off.

The manifesto carries the namesake of the Labour Party's own 'Malta For All' campaign slogan (Malta Taghna Lkoll).

In its foreword, Labour Leader Joseph Muscat says that the manifesto represents a "clear roadmap" of Labour's direction.

"It is not a list of promises, but a realistic project founded upon our vision of being the best in Europe," Muscat says, adding that the manifesto was long in the making. "It is a plan of action, not an auction for votes."

Click here to read the full manifesto.

Each chapter opens up with a brief bullet-point summary of the leading proposals contained therein:

Education: More investment in schools, free tablet for Year Four children and teachers, retention and expansion of stipends, benefits and stipends for those returning to school from employment, career sabbatical of paid leave for teachers, pluralism in tertiary education, and guarantees of teaching, training, and employment for youth.

 Economy: Greater economic growth that reaches everyone, prioritization of government spending, measures aimed at cutting down bureaucracy, Start Up Tax Credit for small businesses, Family Business Act, incentives to reinvigorate property market, investment in maritime industry to establish Malta as Mediterranean Maritime Centre, and investment in higher-tier manufacturing.

Employment: Measures to increase work participation, free Childcare Centers for families, cheaper tax on part-time income, €2,000 tax credit for women over 35 going to work for first time, tax credit for employers who train workers, incentives for people to enter workforce instead of long-term reliance on social benefits, workers' rights Charter, and cutting down on precarious employment.

Energy: Reduction of 25% on energy bills and 5% on water bills, investment in gas technology, utility bills sent on established frequency with agreement with consumers, closing down of Marsa power station, accelerated closure of antiquated Delimara phase, free Energy Efficiency exercise for households, Water Saving Kit that will cut down 25% of household consumption, assistance schemes for purchase of renewable energy sources (solar panels etc), investment opportunities for those with no space to install such sources, and a more financially viable Enemalta.

Health: Free healthcare and timely medical care, health centers of the highest quality, a patient rights' charter, initiatives to cut down on waiting lists, more free medicines, distribution of free medicines to patients' homes, modernization of Gozo hospital, funding for both parents to accompany patient abroad and not just one.

Civil Liberties: Appointment of figure to be politically responsible for Civil Liberties and Equality, introduction of Cohabitation Law, establishment of consultative council for strengthening of LGBT rights, same-sex Civil Union, more women on government boards, and a law that regulates identification of transgendered individuals.

Just Society: Children's' Rights Law, increased pension for disabled, financial assistance to parents of disabled children, additional resources to Independent Living service, full pension for working disabled persons, full pension for widows without exception, elderly with carer no longer pay employer's NI, community residence care for all disabled persons, Social Impact Assessments for all major economic government decisions, and schemes for those with unpaid NI to settle amount and receive pensions.

Gozo: Work in Gozo for Gozitans, special Framework for greater investment, fiscal incentives for job-creating businesses, permanent link will be further studies, faster transport services between Gozo and Valletta, free WiFi on Gozo Channel ferries, and cheap transportation schemes between Malta and Gozo.

Environment, Planning, and Resources: Clean air for all, more efficient planning schemes, an Environment and Resources Authority, a Planning and Sustainable Development Authority, Environmental NGOs given right to suggest persons for board appointments, funds for environmental NGOs, environmental compensation for local councils hardest hit by environmental issues, cheaper planning tariffs, and more animal-friendly laws.

Infrastructure: Public national call for major creative projects, rehabilitation of various historic places around Valletta, Cottonera and others, free entrance into Valletta after 2pm and on Saturdays, National Traffic Management plan, and registration tax exemptions for electric vehicles.

Consumers: refund on VAT tax paid on vehicle registration, strengthening Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, One-Stop-Shop for consumers, financial services Ombudsman, Charter for rights of bank clients, Charter for rights of small investors.

Civil Society and Voluntary Work: Round-table for NGOs and voluntary workers as a permanent forum, improvement in fiscal incentives for businesses which help voluntary sector, more assistance for NGOs to access EU funding, Coordination of Community Services on voluntary basis, and Consultative Council for feign communities.

Art, Culture and Creativity: An Art School as part of University, a Museum of Contemporary Art, a school for regenerated Music, a National Gallery of Modern Art, a National Fund for Excellence, an archive of oral history, and strengthening of creative niches.

Sport: A focus on sports which are  deemed minor, budget allocation for Olympic cycles for MOC, construction of various new sports facilities, serious evaluation of motorsports as a sport, modernization of Marsa sports complex.

Justice: A comprehensive reform of the justice sector, a Charter for citizens who use the court services, an Administrative Civil Court, a judge in Gozo's Court, reduction in court waiting time through better scheduling, and an email and SMS notification system for deferred cases.

Security: Modernisation of the Police Force, better conditions for police including better extra duty pay, more police officers on the beat, granting of right to disciplined forces to be part of union, and greater coordination in efforts related to irregular immigration.

Efficient Governance: Increasing efficiency in government work, all laws discussed will be published online, reduction in expenses related to board appointments, and a parliament that is more accountable and closer to the people.

Democracy and transparency: Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries will not receive the €500 weekly increase in honoraria, the introduction of the Whistleblower Act, a Party Financing law, a Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards, removal of prescription for politicians on offences related to corruption, reform of Public Broadcasting, Constitutional convention that leads to birth of second republic.

Regional and Local Governance: Lowering the age of voting to 16 on local councils and administrative committees, local councils which are more favorable towards families and businesses and that cut down on bureaucracy, public representatives on boards related to selection of contracts, and improvements of public spaces.

A Maltese, European and Mediterranean Malta: Working so that Malta strengthens its position within the European Union, immediate preparation for the EU 2017 Presidency, improving and strengthening relations with countries outside the EU, and Maltese Embassies as 'showcase' for country.