[WATCH] Budget 2022 | Bernard Grech: PN government will widen 25% tax bracket to €80,000

Opposition leader Bernard Grech reacts to Budget 2022, the last of this legislature

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

The leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech put forward his criticism on the Budget 2022 in today's parliamentary plenary session while setting out the party's socioeconomic vision for Malta.

Grech said that a nationalist government will be widening the 25% tax bracket from €60,000 to €80,000.

“This will give these people more than €2,000 a year, which they can spend on their families and themselves,” Grech said.

He said the PN’s vision is based on three pillars: 1. people should have more time to spend with their families, 2. the Maltese should have a nicer environment to enjoy and 3. a country which helps people to succeed in their ambitions.

“You spent as much as you could, you spent millions, but you didn’t look at the needs of the people,” he told government. “This is a narcistic government which bluffs and lies.”

Grech said a nationalist government will ensure the country’s minimum wage is set at €1,000.

On the environment, Grech said only one budget measure addressed the needs of society, the Inwadar afforestation.

He said a Nationalist government will not build the proposed Marsascala marina, while stating that any ODZ land given by government would need a two-thirds parliamentary majority. “This will not apply to private projects like a farm or farmhouse, which are already regulated by the existent policies.”

“We have to fight back against unregulated urbanization across the country,” Grech said.

The nationalist leader said government has refused to acknowledge the sacrifice by front liners during the pandemic, even “symbolically”.

“That is why we will be giving a €14 million bonus to all the front liners. The funds will come from the money spent on persons of trust by thus government,” he said. “More than 700 contracts have been awarded by this government.”

On the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Grech said the current mechanism is outdated, stating a nationalist administration would be implementing a new system whereby pensions increase twice as that of other workers.

He also said family doctor services will be free for over-60s.

Grech said the government had promised the “best days for our country” (l-aqwa zmien ghal pajjizna), but ended up getting the country greylisted.

“You are telling us you will get the country off the greylist in 18 months, and are expecting the Maltese and Gozitans to wait,” he said. “But you are only strong with the weak, that is why you stand behind Konrad Mizzi.”

He said the country does not want hope, but concrete action.

Speaking on transport, the PN leader said the free transport measure should start by January, but insisted on a long-term strategy for the sector.

“First, they spent 700 million in European funds on road work, then they spoke about the metro on the eve of an election, then they promised free public transport. There is no strategy,” he said.

Grech said a nationalist administration will ensure that by 2025, all public transport busses are emission free.

The nationalist leader said a PN government will be giving young people aged between 16 and 21 a €500 voucher for a holiday in a European country. “This is truly an investment in our children.”

He also said a nationalist administration will be raising stipends by 25% “to attract students to professions which the country needs most.”