Bernard Grech pledges living income will become reality under PN

Opposition leader says current social benefit schemes are not helping people out of poverty

A Nationalist Party government will introduce a living income framework, party leader Bernard Grech pledged on Sunday.

During a political activity on Sunday morning. Grech promised that a PN government led by him would work to introduce a living income to combat poverty and ensure decent living.

“We will make living income a reality after discussing and seeing with experts on how best to implement it. Every day spent unable to live a decent life is a day wasted,” he said.

The initial proposal came from PN MP Ivan Bartolo, who put forward the proposal at a conference last Friday. At the same conference, Grech said that more people are using food banks and soup kitchens to get by, suggesting that current social benefit schemes are not enough to help people out of poverty.

When MaltaToday asked the Nationalist Party about increasing the minimum wage last September, the PN said it would first consult with social partners before committing to anything.

“There are people struggling mentally as they worry about making ends meet. We want people to live without this worry. Under a PN government you will be able to live again.”

‘People tell us they can’t stand the Labour Party’

“Everyday during house visits,  people admit to us that they can’t stand the Labour Party,” Grech said during his speech.

He lambasted the PL for voting against a legislative package presented by the Nationalist Party in parliament last week. The 12-Bill package comprised a raft of anti-corruption Bills, including the creation of a special inquiring magistrate focused on corruption by public officers.

But last Thursday, government MPs voted against the Bill, thus preventing the package from being moved to a Third reading.

“We told them to vote for Malta. We told them we should send a message as the country’s highest institution and show that Malta’s political class is determined to control its behaviour for the good of the country - yet even here they failed.”

“When they threw away our proposals, they effectively rejected the verdict of the three judges that concluded the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. They threw away what the Malta Chamber said, what several newspaper editorials said - they all asserted that they were good and needed proposals for the country.”

Grech went on to slam Prime Minister Robert Abela, as head of the Labour Party, for his demeanour when criticising national institutions.

“When they aren’t under his control, he attacks them. When he needs help, he sends Glenn Bedingfield to do the attacking for him,” Grech said.

Labour Whip Glenn Bedingfield recently attacked the judiciary for carrying out a raid on former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s property. He described the incident as “persecution by the police” in a scathing parliamentary speech. and questioned whether the judiciary was indeed working without favour and prejudice.

“This is my message to anyone leading a national institution - together with the Nationalist Party, you are this country’s salvation. Let no one put you down. You have authority and responsibility to follow the law so that this country can keep its head high.”

‘A rule for Gods, another for everyone else’

Grech also questioned a mask exemption in place for the audience at the Malta Film Awards, despite pandemic regulations stating that they must be kept on.

“Aren’t rules supposed to apply to everyone? It seems like we have one rule for Gods, and another for everyone else,” he said.

Several members of the audience at the awards ceremony were spotted without masks, the event having been streamed directly on national television.

Current pandemic rules state that masks must be worn at all times during such events, only to be removed when eating or drinking.

Grech remarked that government decisions on COVID-19 are being taken with the election in mind, rather than in the interest of public health. He said that government made a u-turn when they removed rules on vaccine certificates mere days after their implementation.

“More and more people are realising that these rules are fake. Government proposes and makes decisions based on their electoral impact.”