Prime Minister's response to Budget

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is addressing Parliament on the Budget.

He said the people knew that the country was moving forward and that they had a choice between a negative opposition and a positive government.

 “We are not a perfect government but people know that are an honest, energetic and dynamic government to move ahead and implement change. People can feel this change and can see that our goal is to improve people’s lives.”

The PM slams the Opposition Budget speech describing it as negative and full of jealousy.

Joseph Muscat says Malta’s debt increased by a third compared  to the increase registered across the EU, while reiterating that under former finance minister Tonio Fenech the government debt had increased by 50%.

Malta never required a bailout despite the forecast of doom  by Simon Busuttil.

“Reality is that, today, the country is faring better. Truth is that, Busuttil with his would have created less economic growth than we have.

During the electoral campaign, he had projected a 2.8% growth under the PN government.

We, however, have registered a 3.5% growth.

The Prime Minister admits that there are issues to  be tackled but the Opposition leader should be worried because he wrote the PN election manifesto.

Manufacturing and exports are doing better, the country has seen the secong biggest growth in Europe and next year,said the prime minister that growth will be three times the European growth.

PM says Labour inherited a country where unemployment was rising, today more jobs are being created.

 “In Gozo alone, 1,200 jobs were created in the retail sector. We are helping the companies, with one major manufacturing company to save €900,000 in energy bills.

Under Gonzi administration the PN had promised 20,000 new jobs in five years.

Joseph Muscat said that in just a year and a half the Labour government had created 15,000 new jobs.

The Prime Minister slamed Simon Busuttil over his figures for workers in the public sector and Arriva staff.

He sent a message to Arriva workers telling them that under a PN government they would have been out of a job. 

Turning to low income families he said that 1,000 euro aid per child would be linked to the children's attendance at school.

The government, said Joseph Muscat wanted to stop benefit abuse.

 The prime minister reminded parliament that under the PN administration there were 130 medicines out of stock.

Today that figure is 5 out of stock.

Joseph Muscat fired a broadside at the Gonzi government and the scandal of the sub-standard concrete used in the construction of Mater Dei Hospital.

The hospital was the vital health centre for the people and whoever was responsible would be held to account.

As the incident mid-week involving the driver of Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia the Prime Minister said he was disgusted.

Joseph Muscat said the person involved was not an ordinary worker, he was a member of the Police Force.

Simon Busuttil was completely wrong about Air Malta but when the restructuring is completed the Labour government will speak more about the national airline.

Taxes have gone up but under a PN government would have increased even further, by another 30 million euros.

Fuel prices are stable, gas prices are down and next January petrol and diesel will go down even further.

As for the Prime Minister's car, Joseph Muscat said he opted for the best choice for the people which meant the PM paid his own insurance and servicing charges. Unlike the Opposition leader whose car and expenses had to be paid by the people.

The south of Malta is the most vunerable especially the environment. How much did Simon Busuttil dedicate to the people of the south. Not one second.

The Labour government is giving serious priority to the south of the island.

Prime Minister highlighted the new project for Paola which will comprise a new Centre at the Pace Grasso football ground as well as a centre for the elderly.

The government found a public transport that was a shambles. Now it would undergo a proper reform

The Opposition questioned the subsidy for public transport yet at the same time wanted the government to pay  for free transport for all shools.

Road traffic is a problem and solutions have to be found which is why the government will be implementing new traffic systems .

Persons with disabilities have the right to be respected and the government will be investing to improve the quality of life for those with disabilities.

Prime Minister closed his Budget speech by saying that Malta's drug laws would undergo reform.