In an interview on the PN’s Sunday newspaper ‘Il-Mument’, the Nationalist Party’s shadow minister on Finance said that Government cannot claim the title of ‘Malta Ġusta’ (A Fair Malta) for its Budget 2024. This because, according to the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC), in our country there are 80,000 persons who cannot afford an unexpected financial expense of around €770. This means about 15% of the Maltese population are in this situation.
What the Opposition spokesperson did not realise is that, during the last Nationalist administration, when according to what he claims in the same interview people were much better than they are now, there were 25% of the population in this situation. This means that a Labour Government has reduced this rate by ten percentage points, or almost halved the extent of the issue.
Moreover, back in 2012, the definition of this indicator was much less demanding in that the unexpected financial expense was of just €450, or only 60% of the benchmark used today. This means that, if the same standard had been used in 2012 there would have been well over 25% of the population who would not have been able to such a sudden expense.
Furthermore, the Opposition spokesperson did not notice that Eurostat data indicate that, across the European Union, 32% of the population are unable to afford an unexpected financial expense. This means that the rate in Europe is more than double that in our country. In neighbouring countries such as Greece, the rate even goes up to 46%, or three times that in Malta.
In fact, the Opposition spokesperson did not even realise that Malta has the second lowest rate in the Union, with the Netherlands beating it by about half a percentage point. This was not the case in 2012, when Malta had a rate that was a quarter higher than that in the European country with the lowest ratio.
As he has managed to do all along, the Opposition’s finance spokesperson has shown how unfit for purpose he is. From last year’s messing up the PN’s pre-Budget document to his ineptitude during this year’s pre-Budget discussions – when he was unable to say how much the PN’s economic growth target was – Jerome Caruana Cilia has shown that he is possibly the worst Finance Spokesperson the Nationalist Party has ever had.