[WATCH] Busuttil proposes scheme to slash income tax for small businesses to 10%

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil pledges to introduce a scheme to reduce income tax paid by SMEs to 10% of their income, that will be tied down to their introducing environmental measures, donating to charity, and not hiring workers in precarious conditions

Simon Busuttil presents the PN's new policy document on retail outlets. Photo: James Bianchi
Simon Busuttil presents the PN's new policy document on retail outlets. Photo: James Bianchi
Simon Busuttil Council Speech

A future PN government will reduce the income tax rate paid by small businesses to 10% of their income, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil pledged today.

Delivering the closing speech at the end of the PN’s general council, Busuttil said that the scheme will apply on the first €50,000 in profit made by any small business, and will not apply to businesses that hire workers in precarious or other exploitative conditions.

To qualify for the scheme, businesses will also be obliged to introduce environmental measures and help out charities or other non-governmental organisations.

“This proposal will help both businesses, as well as their employees and the communities they are a part of, he said.

During his speech, Busuttil launched a policy paper on retail outlets which he hailed as the first ever such policy document by a Maltese political party on the sector.

The document also proposes that excise duties imposed  by the Labour government on certain products be abolished, and that start-ups be given the opportunity to borrow money at lower interest rates.

Busuttil also promised to reduce tax on rent and on the purchasing of retail outlets in areas that are in need of regeneration.

He also reiterated his belief that the minimum wage should increase, moments after Joseph Muscat pledged that it will be increased, despite resistance by employers’ associations.

“We need to start taking notice of smaller players. A strong economy is useless if does not help the smallest and weakest among us,” the PN leader said. “If Joseph Muscat has forgotten the principles his own party is built on, and has forgotten the weak, the Nationalist Party will be there to defend the rights of these people.”

Turning to corruption, Busuttil said that this was something that affected the very weakest in society. He said that at a first glance, the Paceville masterplan seemed like a positive development, however it is now clear that the plan will only benefit a few individuals, at the expense of the many.

“Millionaires have Joseph Muscat to look out for their interests, but the weak and small have the Nationalist Party,” Busuttil said.

Simon Busuttil addresses the PN General Council. Photo: James Bianchi
Simon Busuttil addresses the PN General Council. Photo: James Bianchi

‘Bogdanovic’s early release unacceptable’ – Fenech Adami

Earlier, deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami lambasted the Gozo police for releasing footballer Daniel Bogdanovic from arrest in time to play a football game for Xewkija Tigers.

“It is unacceptable that an individual who was accused of domestic violence and found to be in possession of an unlicensed firearm was released from police custody in order to play in a football match, following a call from the ministry,” he said.

Fenech Adami accused education minister Evarist Bartolo of appointing his canvasser to a position of trust that he then used to ask for commissions for the building of schools.

PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami addresses the PN general council. Photo: James Bianchi
PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami addresses the PN general council. Photo: James Bianchi

He also accused justice minister Owen Bonnici of lying to the public accounts committee regarding commissions being paid to Henley and Partners. He said Bonnici had said that no other commissions were being paid, however it now emerged that they are receiving a 10% commission on government stocks.

“We have a government that, in the face of allegations of corruption, seeks to cover its tracks and to protect those close to it,” said Fenech Adami.

On the case of expired medicine being administered to patients at Mater Dei, Fenech Adami accused the government of having millions of euro to spend on buying Café Premier and paying the salaries of minister’s wives, but then had a policy that allowed doctors to administer expired medicines to patients that were fighting for their life.

“It is unacceptable for a minister to say with a straight face that expired medicine is being given to patients and for him to remain a minister,” Fenech Adami said.

‘PN’s lack of an energy vision will destroy SMEs’ – PL

In a brief reaction, the Labour Party warned that the PN’s lack of a vision in the energy sector will ruin small businesses.

“This government has reduced electricity bills for businesses, whereas Busuttil’s energy plan will mean that Malta will face around 700 hours a year without power,” the PL said in a statement. “Businesses want to be guaranteed that the country’s energy production is sustainable, and that they will continue to receive cheaper bills. The PN cannot provide either such guarantee.”

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