PN open to COLA revision and living wage framework

However, the party is non-committal on a minimum wage increase or a universal basic income

Photo: Partit Nazzjonalista
Photo: Partit Nazzjonalista

The Nationalist Party is open to revising the Cost-of-Living Adjustment and is in the process of drafting its pre-budget document.

However, when asked about their position on a minimum wage increase or introduction of a universal basic income, the PN said it must consider everything while consulting with all social partners.

“Yes, a Nationalist Party government must consider everything – speak with social partners, understand the difficulties, and address the problem,” PN candidate David Agius said during a party press conference.

Agius referred to two reports in the newspaper it-Torċa and online portal Newsbook. The first report stated that basic shopping prices increased by 3.5% over a few weeks, while a Newsbook survey found 86% of respondents felt that prices have gone up over the past three years.

From the same survey, 26% of respondents said their primary problem is cost of living.

“This means one in four people feel that the cost of living is their biggest problem,” Agius remarked.

PN Candidate Claudette Buttigieg added that vulnerable groups tend to be more severely impacted by a rising cost of living. She noted that women tend to earn lower wages and that some are still unemployed or at risk of losing their jobs.

“It is a fact that when you have a high cost of living, it will affect those at a lower income level more directly and more strongly,” she said. “Government should at least acknowledge this problem.”

Francine Farrugia, another PN candidate, said that a lot of people are living paycheck by paycheck, with families unable to catch up witht heir loans.

“This is the reality we need to address with repsonsibility,” she stated.

Farrugia added that many families and businesses are being overcharged on their utility bills, many by €15 to €80.

She suggested the setting up of a Poverty Watch Unit, to provide support to the 82,000 people in Malta who are at risk of poverty.