[WATCH] Abela: Labour values critics’ opinions, unlike the PN

Prime Minister Robert Abela says critics' views on Labour are respected by the party • PM says measures aiding first-time buyers are shaping its vision for the property market

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Labour values the opinions of critics, unlike the Nationalist Party, the Prime Minister said on Sunday.

“We won't call those who criticise us - even strongly - armchair critics. We value their opinion, even if we don’t agree with them,” Robert Abela told supporters at a political event in Birgu on Sunday.

The PN’s president for political research, Mary Anne Lauri, when speaking during the party’s general council last Sunday, had called out “armchair critics”, telling supporters how surveys should be interpreted in the right way. She even urged the people in front of her to use their heads when reading political surveys.

She was speaking on the day a MaltaToday survey had revealed how the PN registered a 22.8% popularity rating, against the PL’s 38.7%. Non-voters in MaltaToday’s regular surveys are now accounting for 23.9%, an increase of 1.7 points over December, making them the second largest cohort after Labour voters.

The increase follows a trendline that has been steadily growing, with just one dip, ever since the March 2022 elections.

The PM told supporters on Sunday that those who have lost faith in politicians will not be labelled “cowards” by his party. "We need to keep our doors open for all, as this country does not afford to lose anyone's talent. We will knock on their doors to understand why they are taking a step back and encourage them to contribute to this country. Whoever can contribute to the governing of this country should come forward.”

“We have made mistakes, and we would be stubborn if we do not address them,” Abela said.

Government shaping property market in its vision

The Prime Minister also said measures aimed at helping first-time buyers are designed to steer the property market towards the government’s vision.

Abela on Friday formally unveiled a scheme that will see first-time buyers receive a cash grant of €1,000 per year for the first 10 years as assistance for loan repayments on their property.

The government scheme unveiled on Friday was a Labour Party electoral pledge and had been announced in the last Budget.

The PM said it will join a series of measures aimed at helping people become property owners.

“We’re assisting couples purchasing their first home by offering them the option to buy inhabited properties instead of creating the burden of demolishing the building,” Abela said.

He also listed other measures introduced by government in less than a year since it was elected back into government.

Government’s plan for the Three Cities

Speaking in Vittoriosa, the PM listed a number of projects aimed at bolstering the area.

He spoke of plans for the present public car park in neighbouring Bormla, which was originally owned by the American University of Malta. “That plot of land, which is currently being utilised as a parking lot, will be transformed into a green, environmentally friendly open area.”

The American University of Malta’s plan for the public car park, before forced to return it to the public, was to convert it into student dorms and apartments.

He also spoke about the shore-to-ship project and the Cottonera Sports Complex among other projects.