Fenech accuses Labour of ‘crocodile tears’ over €40 million budget cuts

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech served up a spirited defence of his budget, accusing the Opposition of failing to live up to its commitment to middle-class families when it will vote against today's Budget Measures Appropriation Bill.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said Labour's vote against the Budget bill was a vote against numerous tax incentives to families and businesses.
Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said Labour's vote against the Budget bill was a vote against numerous tax incentives to families and businesses.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech left no stone unturned in his criticism of the Opposition and its leader Joseph Muscat, who will this evening vote against the Budget Measures Appropriation Bill.

Speaking in parliament, Fenech questioned how the Opposition could be viewed as credible if this evening it planned to vote against the budget bill.

"In other words, Muscat and his party will be voting against increasing pensions, the tax reductions for SMEs and for parents whose children are in private schools, the incentives for the property sector and the investment we're carrying out in the economy," Fenech said. "All this and more is why our side of the House will be voting 'yes' this evening."

Hitting out at Muscat and "his three alter-boys" - shadow finance and economy ministers Charles Mangion and Karmenu Vella, and Labour MEP Edward Scicluna - Fenech said they were nowhere to be seen when the International Monetary Fund's report described the country's economic growth as "impressive".

"They spent three months holding press conferences at every opportunity they could, latching on to petty things to hit out at us. But this time they kept silent in front of this positive report," he said.

Referring to the criticism raised by Labour over the €40 million budgetary cuts announced in January, Fenech said it was all "crocodile tears".

"The Labour party talks about the middle-class... but have they seen what incentives we gave to parents sending children to private schools and for pensioners in homes for the elderly? Have they seen the incentives we provided for middle-class families? Will they be voting for this budget? The answer is simply no," he said.

According to Fenech, it's all "a gamble" with Joseph Muscat. "He [Muscat] knows businesses feel that Labour is risky. With its past, it's obvious that they feel insecure with Labour. If it were not so, why does Muscat insist that business 'will be safe with Labour'? He wouldn't come out with such statements if there were no fears," the finance minister said.

Adding that historically Labour was against market liberalisation and in favour of bulk-buying, he said that the PL had no economic policy and that it will wait until the very last day to reveal its policies, if it had any, Fenech added.

Countering Labour's claims of 'hidden debt' inside Enemalta and other public entities in the form of government guarantees and letters of comforts, Fenech said all this information was regularly published by the government, and defended his efforts at securing a sustainable model of refinancing the national energy corporation.

"The Opposition, on the other hand, must show some consistency. Labour says it will reduce utility rates, but we know they will tell us, if elected, that they have found a mountain of debt at Enemalta and cannot reduce utility rates. A Labour government will be an austerity government... we saw it in 1996, when Labour used the deficit to cut down university stipends," he said.

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Il-hinn mir retorika tal ministru, nixtieq nistaqsi. Minnu jew le li INT gejt imgieghel tnaqqas 40miljun ewro mill EU wara li kont ga prezentajt il budget b'hafna daqq tal fanfarri? Minnu jew le li SVP hija ghodda legali kif tahbi id-dejn tal gvern? Kemm hu ezatt id-dejn nazzjonali (taghna ilkoll) meta izzid mieghu wkoll dak li ghandhom jaghtu il kumpaniji parastatli? Altru minn dmugh tal kukkudrilli.
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@ericam01: Saqsi l-Joe jekk tghamillux differenza?
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briffy: jekk jitnaqqsu t-tariffi, il-kontijiet ukoll jorhsu aktar minn hekk ! U min jidra ma jixghelx id-dawl u bhal qtates jibda jara wkoll fid-dlam, il-kontijiet jispiccaw fix-xejn ukoll !
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@briffy- Yes I tried a couple of LED lamps, they lasted about 13 hours each! Great, they save power; but they certainly don't save money.
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@Lemini B'xiber imnieher bhallissa l-poplu Malti qieghed habib, mhux il-PL. Il-PL ilu fl-oppozizzjoni l-fuq minn 25 sena x'diffwerenza ser taghmillu?? Ghaziz Tonio id-dmugh tal-kukkudrilli taf meta narawh, f'Marzu li gej meta tkunu tafu li ha titilfu l-elelezzjoni jew inkella bhal ma' ghidt inti li l-investituri mhux gejjin ghax hemm ic-cans jirbah il-PL!!! Proset x'politiku fik!
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B'xiber imnieher ser tibqa 'lleja Joe!
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Luke Camilleri
Dr. Fenech is the CROCODILE AND ITS OUR TEARS AT THE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND IRRESPONSIBILITY! Where is the "SURPLUS" in the Balance of Payments promised on the 19th October 2007 on XARABANK by Dr. Fenech himself in 2010? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WydZSC8kc1E&feature=player_embedded What is his excuse NOW ?
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Tonio Fenech, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS YOUR OWN LEADER HAS SAID THAT A LABOUR GOVERNMENT IS SAFE FOR BUSINESSES IF THERE IS A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT IN MALTA WHEN HE WAS IN LONDON A FEW MONTHS AGO ????????
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Ghadni kif qrajt dan li gej l-abbati ta' Birkirkara li faqa' l-Kunsill Lokali ta' Birkirkara bid-dejn, li jzomm mal-arsenal u ma jiddejjaqx imur jarahom b'safra ma' xi hbieb u li jaf kif jirrinova villa f'hal balzan bla ma jonfoq wisq: "Labour says it will reduce utility rates, but we know they will tell us, if elected, that they have found a mountain of debt at Enemalta and cannot reduce utility rates". ARA MIN IRID JITKAZA !!!! Mid-dehra jahseb li kulhadd bhalu u bhal gonzipn is-sur tonio - forsi mhux gonzipn kien li erba' snin ilu wieghed li se jnaqqas it-taxxa tal-income u baqa' ma naqqas xejn ???? TRID TKUN VERU WICCEK TOST, ARROGANTI, KIESAH U VOJT BIEX TOHROG B'WAHDA BHAL DIN !!!!!
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When Tonio Fenech starts getting his predictions right, then maybe one should start considering seriously what he says. But NOT BEFORE ! Up to now his budget predictions have all gone haywire !!!
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Nidhaq jew nibki nisma lil dan ic-cuc jigdeb fuq l-opposizjoni. Fi zmien Mintoff meta ried jghaddi ligi li kulhadd jiehu l-penzjoni ta 61sena l-Opposizjoni ta dak iz-zmien ivvotat kontra ghax qalu li x-xjuh imorru l-kazini u jixorbuhom inbid. Xi gwadan ha jiehu l-middle class taht dan il gvern? xejn hlief cilindri tal Gas €20 , kontijiet tad dawl mghola s-sema u gholi tal hajja ma tlahhaqx maghha. L-opposizjoni hi kontra ghax ha jsiru tnaqqis min bnadi essenzjali li ma jsirux u jekk hu ragel u tal kelma Franco Debono jmissu jivvota kontra, imma mid dehra irranga u sejjjer ikompli mal klikka u Oligarkijja li dam ihambaq kontra taghha hu stess
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The future light bulbs will not be the incandescent lamps we've known for a century but LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are being phased out and it will be hardly possible to purchase one in three year's time. The LEDs are now costing something between Eur30 and Eur50 but, unlike incandescent lamps, they will last for 20 years instead of one year. Furthermore, they are big energy savers; they use up 1/10 of the energy of incandescent bulbs. Energy bills are therefore bound to go down drastically. Reckoning on 40% of energy is consumed by light bulbs, this is bound to reduce energy bills by about 30%. So for the average household, and energy bill of Eur600 should go down just over Eur400. This is good news.