Green open spaces, first-time buyers mortgage payments refunds among Labour Party unprecedented proposals.
During an eventful day Zero, Prime Minister Robert Abela presented his vision to build a new prosperity for Malta and Gozo. In the first day of the electoral campaign, the PM unveiled the first five hard-hitting proposals of an unprecedented scale. The PL is in blitz mode.
€700 million in green spaces around Malta & Gozo
The centrepiece of the plan is the environment. While in the legislature that has just ended Labour focused the country’s resources on an overhaul of infrastructure, this will now focus on investing heavily in the country’s green infrastructure. The PM pledged €700 million investment to create new open and green spaces around the country. This green transformation will not concentrate on the creation of large afforested areas in rural areas. Rather it will try to bring green areas and tranquillity back to our urban centres. Of central importance is the pledge that one will never be more than 10 minutes distance from an open or green space. After Labour gave back people their economic wellbeing and gave them the highest amount of leave entitlement in Europe, it is now time to create spaces where people can enjoy their time together with their families.
Lower taxes for workers & self-employed persons
Throughout the pandemic, Robert Abela’s administration protected the productive capacity of our economy in order to have it ready for a rapid economic recovery. All international institutions agree that the main potential for economic growth in Malta is through domestic demand as the tourism industry will take its time to recover fully. In this light, the announcement of the most generous reduction in the income tax burden in Malta’s history was a well-thought move. True to Labour’s progressive philosophy, the tax cut focuses on raising the income threshold from which someone starts incurring tax. This will free thousands of the least-earning individuals from paying income tax. At the same time, the generosity of tax refunds will increase once more. As a result of this income tax reform, on average, taxpayers will get back €300.
Corporate tax to go down from 35% to 25%
While helping sustain the purchasing power of families, Labour’s plan also lowers the burden on firms. This, through the first cut in the corporate tax in a generation. Firms will be paying 10% less tax on their first €250,000 of profits. This means a maximum saving of €25,000 in tax, which firms will be able to instead invest back in their operations. This could mean employing additional workers, purchasing new machinery or software, or rebuilding profit margins dented by the pandemic. Instead of using the pandemic as an excuse to tax more companies, Labour is creating even more incentives so that firms can succeed in this important economic recovery phase.
Better Quality of Life for the Elderly
Labour’s policy to kickstart economic growth is inspired by a strong social purpose. Economic growth helps make it possible for Government to continue with its efforts to improve the wellbeing of all in our society. Key among them pensioners. After having promised and delivered an €8 weekly rise in pensions in the last legislature, now the planned increase is of at least €15, or nearly double. This would mean a €780 annual rise in pensions. This implies that those on the minimum pension will receive the equivalent of an additional month’s pension that they receive today. On top of this, the PM is promising that pensioners will be eligible to free medicines, taking upon Government a burden of €40 million pensioners currently spent on these essentials.
First-time buyers mortgage payment refunds
But besides having a strong social conscience, “Malta Flimkien” confirms Labour as the party of aspiration. After having worked tirelessly in favour of homeowners, by introducing the first-time buyer scheme, the deposit guarantee scheme and equity sharing, the latest proposal is another first in Malta’s history. Government will refund first-time buyers €1,000 in mortgage payments every year for the first ten years of their loan. For most young homeowners, this will be equivalent to one month’s worth of repayments being shouldered by Government. For those on low incomes with lower-valued properties, the support will cover about two months of mortgage payments, making this measure heavily progressive.
These first five proposals clearly depict Labour’s vision for the next legislature. It will be an administration with a focus on improving the quality of life. An administration that seeks to continue to improve the welfare of those most in need, lower burdens on both families and businesses while bolstering support for new couples. An administration with a mandate to build a new prosperity and with a renewed vigour and dynamism to continue changing Malta and Gozo for the better.