Muscat: New middle class proves growth is being felt by people

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hails decrease in poverty rates and creation of new middle class

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the creation of a new middle class proves that the increase in the country’s economic growth was being felt by the people.

Speaking during a brief interview on One Radio, Muscat said the government’s commitment towards increasing economic growth was to ensure greater social mobility. The prime minister said the proportion of people at risk of poverty is reducing and people are earning more.

“Though Malta has the lowest unemployment rate in the Eurozone and a declining poverty rate, more needs to be done.”

“Poverty is slowly falling, unemployment is the lowest that has ever been. In the first three years of the government, 20,000 jobs have been created, a new middle class is being created as many people have seen their standard of living improve,” he said.

The prime minister explained that figures show that those earning less than €10,000 a year had declined by 4,000, while 5,000 more people or 14% were earning between  €20,000 and €30,000, while the number of people earning between €30,000 and €40,000.

“The increase in people earning between €20,000 and €30,000 proves that the government is building a new middle class. This is further confirmed by the fact that a recent barometer survey showed that 80% of the people had confidence in the country’s economic future … no government ever had this much support,” he said.

The Labour leader also said that the increase in economic growth was also translating in growth in other sectors, such as health and energy.

He explained that no medicines were out of stock in the past six months, and a new air ambulance service between Gozo and Malta was launched.

Muscat, who this week returned to Malta after visiting Singapore to dispatch the delayed LNG tanker which will be permanently moored at Marsaxlokk Bay, said he did not wish that the tanker be permanently berthed there.

Rather, he argued that had the gas pipeline between Malta and Italy been in place, the LNG tanker would not have been needed.

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