Adrian Delia tears into recovery plan, electricity bills should have been cut by half for all

Parliament holds debate on economic recovery plan unveiled last Monday • Robert Abela again invites Opposition to attend police chief grilling

Opposition leader Adrian Delia
Opposition leader Adrian Delia

Electricity bills should have been reduced by half for everyone, Adrian Delia said as he tore into government’s recovery plan this evening in parliament.

The Opposition leader insisted the international price of fossil fuels had dropped to such an extent that government could afford to cut utility bills by half for a whole year.

Delia was speaking in a parliamentary debate on the recovery plan unveiled last Monday.

The Nationalist Party leader said the 7c per litre reduction in the price of petrol and diesel was not enough. He insisted it should have been a reduction of at least 30c, accusing the government of robbing the people.

Delia reiterated criticism that government’s wage supplement scheme was selective and ignored at least 100,000 workers who were employed in businesses that were hit by the pandemic but could not benefit from supplement.

“The €800 wage supplement should be extended to all those who were drastically hit by the pandemic,” Delia said.

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He accused the government of unveiling a package that was short-sighted with no long-term plan to gear the economy for a different future.

“All measures last until September. Why? What is going to end in September?” Delia asked sarcastically, hinting that government may have plans to hold an election after the summer.

Delia criticised the government for proposing no financial incentives to attract tourists to Malta in the face of regional market competition as air travel restarts.

He then noted that the country was beset by social problems, rising unemployment, homelessness and pensioners on the brink of poverty for which the government had nothing to say.

In his replica, Prime Minister Robert Abela said the Opposition failed to understand the people’s positive reaction to the package unveiled on Monday.

“He doesn’t know what support we have given over the past three months to businesses. God, forbid you were leading this country during these three months, which were crucial in defining this country,” Abela said, adding the government did well to ignore the Opposition leader’s calls for a complete lockdown at the start of the pandemic, which would have destroyed businesses.

Straying from the financial package, Abela criticised the Opposition for reneging on its duty to be present for the parliamentary grilling of the next police chief.

He accused the Opposition of finding no fault with the chosen candidate, Angelo Gafà, but refusing to acknowledge this, simply because the appointment was being made by a Labour government. He urged Opposition MPs to attend Gafà’s grilling and ask whatever they want.

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