[WATCH] Nationalist Party leader questions whether surplus is really benefiting the people

Adrian Delia was interviewed on Radio 101, where he discussed the budgetary surplus, the screening of candidates for important posts, the Good Samaritan’s Act and the educational system

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia, this morning questioned whether people were really benefitting from the budgetary surplus while insisting on the need to identify “where the surplus which the government speaks of, is coming from”.

Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, the PN leader said that, ahead of the upcoming 2018 budget, it was important to discern where the surplus was coming from, and whether it was translating into any tangible gains to the people.

Delia said that while a surplus is generally a good thing, it was unclear whether the surplus was due to an expanding economy, or whether it was the result of less government spending on capital projects, or more taxes. “A surplus simply means the government is earning more money than it is spending”, Delia said, “the Opposition wants to know what constitutes such a surplus”. He asked whether people were truly living a better life because of the surplus, and how the surplus was helping those who couldn’t afford to rent a place to stay, because of inflated property prices.

Asked about the government’s proposal to pass legislation making it obligatory that candidates for important positions undergo a screening process before being appointed, Delia said that the opposition was in favour of this. He asked, however, why this wasn’t started sooner, and whether the screening process would be undertaken again once that particular person was eligible for re-appointment.  He also emphasized that it was not enough for there to be legislation – it was essential to ensure that scrutinisation is applied effectively.

Delia also spoke about the PN’s proposal for a Good Samaritan’s Act. Delia said that “currently, the law in Malta does not protect you in a situation where you try to help someone who has had an accident, but end up unintentionally causing harm”. He said that the Act would provide protection to first aiders, and would allow people to assist those in need of medical help without the fear of doing more harm than good and ending up in trouble.

Asked whether he had a message to students starting their new scholastic year next week, Delia said that he wanted Malta to move towards an educational system which was able to recognize students’ strengths and help them advance in this regard. He said he believed in a system which would actively spot students’ talents, and accordingly assist them in progressing and flourishing in the areas they were best at. “This will create a more just educational system”, Delia said.

Labour Party reaction

In a reaction the Labour Party accused Delia of being negative and ignoring positive changes taking place in Malta.

It denied that only a small section of society was reaping the benefit of the surplus, and listed various areas where the surplus was being used, which included measures to reduce poverty, the rise in government pensions and minimum wage, free medicines for chronically ill patients, the ‘first time buyers’ scheme, and in new schools, sports facilities and infrastructural projects.