Government's 'reformist agenda' continuing to lay groundwork for future success- Muscat

The Prime Minister said the country was today reaping the benefits of the last legislature’s policies and would continue implementing new policies for a ‘futureproof’ country

The country is today seeing the results of ‘smart policies’ enacted by the Labour government during the last legislature, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Speaking during a brief telephone interview on ONE Radio, the Prime Minster pointed to the government’s tapering of benefits policy, which he said had facilitated a number of people joining the workforce, and which statistics now confirmed was a success.

“In the last legislature, we introduced the concept that allowed people on benefits who wished to start working, to keep their benefits for a period of time,” said Muscat.

“Statistics are now showing us that many of these people have remained in employment,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that every week the country continued to obtain results, a clear sign that it intended to continue down the “road of ambition”.

He said government would continue to implement well-thought out policies in order to build a futureproof country.

Despite the successes, Muscat said there were still problems that many people were grappling with, including social housing and the rent market.

“After inheriting a disastrous situation, with no places to work with on housing, and after working to keep what was an emergency situation under control, we are now working on policies that will be leave their mark over the coming years,” said Muscat.  

Turning to the rental market, Muscat said that government was aware of the fact that many people would previously had had not problems with rent, had now found themselves struggling due to the fact that rental prices had shot up as the economy grew.

He said that there was a segment of the population that was finding it difficult to afford rent, while at the same time earning too much to qualify for government subsidies.

“It would be short-sighted to suggest that we need to stop the economy growing, but rather we must come up with the right policies,” said Muscat.

He noted that in response to government increasing its subsidy, some landlords had increased rents further, and that this mean that other methods of helping tenants needed to be considered.

The Prime Minister also expressed his satisfaction at the news that the American University of Malta would be offering scholarships to Maltese students, as well as at the results achieved in the court system.

He said that waiting lists had always been an issue across many government services, and that one of the longest waiting lists in the country was at the law courts. After significantly reducing waiting lists at Mater Dei, said Muscat, it had also started the solve the problem at the courts.

Today marks the 101st anniversary of former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff’s birth, and Muscat said that the spirit of reform instilled in the party by the Mintoff was still strong.

He said that the Labour Party’s LEAD program, intended to increase the number of female candidates contesting elections on a Labour ticket, had received a great deal of interest.

Ultimately, he said, it would allow the Labour Party to continue with its “reformist agenda”, and would allow it to change the country for the better.

Asked about the situation with the Nationalist Party, Muscat said there were enough people commenting on what outgoing leader Simon Busuttil should do, adding that it was his hope that the PN could move away from negative politics. 

More in National