11 years of economic and social successes

11 ways a Labour administration has impacted people’s lives since March 2013

The 9th of March 2024 marks the eleventh year since the Labour Party regained the electorate mandate to govern our country. Despite the unprecedented challenges that have arisen since then, these have been years of great economic and social successes.

In this article we focus on 11 of these achievements.

1. A greater role for women

The employment rate of women was only 47% in March 2013. This was the worst rate across the European Union and was almost a quarter lower than the European average. Today Malta has a female employment rate equal to that of Germany, 73%, and our rate is higher than the European average. Had we remained with the female employment rate of 2013, today we would have around 45,000 less women working.

2. More quality careers

In March 2013 we had the same number of people in jobs requiring basic skills as we had people working as managers – about 16,000 persons. Today we have twice as many people working as managers, and they now exceed those working in jobs with basic skills by a third. Of the 120,000 more people in employment, half were managers or professionals, with both occupational categories doubling in size since 2013.

3. More than 100,000 graduates working

While in March 2013 just a quarter of those working were graduates, today this proportion has risen to more than a third. There are two and a half times the number of graduate workers there were in 2013, exceeding 100,000 for the first time in history. 

4. A record number of financial assets and home ownership

According to European Central Bank data, households in Malta have net wealth (i.e. a value of housing and financial assets less debts) worth €112,202 million, or almost six times the value of our gross domestic product. This is more than double the net assets households held in March 2013. While, on average, then a family had net assets of €318,170, today this stands at €531,030. On average a household in the euro area has net assets of only €385,000, or a quarter less than those in Malta. Lower-income households in our country have a better homeownership rate than middle-class families in Germany. Family deposits with local banks exceeded €17 billion for the first time this January.

5. An economy that has doubled and which is the fastest-growing in Europe

In 2023, the Maltese economy had a gross domestic product of €19.4 billion, up from €7.9 billion in 2013. The doubling of our economy took place in a context where growth across the European Union was weak, with the Maltese economy growing at twice the average rate. For the first time in history Malta’s GDP per capita exceeded the average first of the European Union and now even that of the euro area. Economic prospects remain strong, with European Commission experts predicting that, in the coming years, Malta will have the best rate of economic growth among all the countries of the EU.

6. Large drop in severe material deprivation

In 2013 there were 42,000 people in severe material deprivation, i.e. facing problems paying electricity bills and lacking essentials. This has fallen to 25,000, despite the fact that the Europen Commission has increased the benchmark defining the measurement of severe material deprivation greatly in recent years. While in 2013 Malta had a severe deprivation rate above the European average, we are now below the average and have a better situation than in France and Germany, when in 2013 we were worse.

7. Reduced dependency on social benefits and increased generosity

The number of those dependent on social assistance today is less than half of what it was in 2013. While after the 2009 recession there was an increase of 900 people on social assistance, despite the pandemic the number of people dependent on Government assistance has continued to fall by an average of around 200 a year. Even those on the supplementary allowance are decreasing despite the fact that the Government has improved the rates of this benefit to one and a half times of what they used to be. Since 2013, in addition to lifting the freeze on pensions and on children’s allowance, the Government has introduced many new benefits such as the inwork benefit, benefit tapering, as well as the carers grant. This year investment in social benefits will reach €1.5 billion for the first time in history.

8. Lower national debt burden

The most recent statistics indicate that the national debt burden is below 50% of GDP, down from 70% in March 2013. In no year under the Nationalist administrations between 1998 and 2012 was there a national debt rate as low as there is today. This happened despite Labour administrations having to deal with the pandemic where, for many months, the State issued the pay of more than half of the country’s workforce and when it has kept the price of energy and fuel stable for several years. In contrast, in the face of a recession a Nationalist Government had offered only a few electricity bulbs to families while it raised fuel and electricity bills by double the average increase across Europe at that time.

9. Billions of euros more in employment income

In 2023 the income of Maltese workers reached a record sum of €8 billion, up from €3.2 billion before 2013. A combination of higher work opportunities and a rise in wages has meant that employment income is two and a half times what it was before. The average basic wage has increased by over €6,000 since 2013. The Labour-led government not only lifted the freeze on the minimum wage, but negotiated two social pacts which allowed it to increase at a substantial rate. This while the Labour Government reduced the income tax burden for all income categories and eliminated it completely for those on the minimum wage.

10. The lowest unemployment rate in Europe

Under the last Nationalist administration, those on the unemployment register had increased by more than a thousand, exceeding 7,000. In contrast, in recent years those registering for work are just about a thousand. In Gozo those registering in 2013 were ten times the present number. Even at the heighth of the pandemic, unemployment levels were half of those under Nationalist administrations. Apart from achieving the lowest ever number of people registering for work, Malta has also managed to become the European country with the lowest unemployment rate.   

11. The biggest public investment in history

The Labour administration has increased public investment strongly, reaching almost €1 billion a year. While Nationalist governments reduced public investment to try to reduce the deficit, Labour administrations have continued to increase the capital allocation. Thus, not only has our country’s infrastructure and the capacity of the education and health systems been strengthened, but investment in open and green spaces has also increased in recent years.

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