Government can and should do more to cushion the coronavirus blow, Opposition says

Opposition says government’s aid package has created a second-class tier of workers who will not enjoy the same benefits as the 60,000 who will receive €800 per month

The Opposition has welcomed the aid package but insists the government has not addressed the plight of all workers
The Opposition has welcomed the aid package but insists the government has not addressed the plight of all workers

The economic aid package still leaves a large swath of workers in the private sector with no adequate help, the Opposition said, urging government to do more.

“From the 164,000 employees in the private sector who will all be hit badly, the government chose to seriously help 60,000 workers, opting to treat the rest as second-class employees,” the Nationalist Party said.

The PN said in a statement that Prime Minister Robert Abela was making a big mistake when ignoring certain sectors that were economic pillars.

READ ALSO: Robert Abela unveils new coronavirus aid package

The Opposition said government should reduce water and electricity bills at a time when people were spending more time at home and so consuming more.

It criticised the Prime Minister for his “arrogant and partisan” reply to a Net TV journalist when asked why the government had not taken the Opposition’s suggestion on utility bills on board.

Abela responded to the question by saying the PN will be credible on this when it pays €4 million in arrears on its utility bills.

The PN said, Abela’s comment breached data protection laws, adding it would be taking legal steps in this regard.

The Opposition said the latest aid package was the third in a matter of days and showed how the government was reacting to circumstances rather than being proactive.

“The first two packages did not have an impact but rather created a climate of uncertainty… faced by strong criticism because of the inadequacy of the first two packages the government was forced to come out with better proposals but there is still more to do,” the PN said.

The Opposition also asked for an immediate freeze on government rents for companies and individuals.

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