Friday, 1 November 2013

Budget 2014 should aim for social and environmental justice

- Żminijietna

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left said, “that Budget 2014 should aim for social and environmental justice, by among other measures should reduce inequalities existing in Maltese society”.

“Public services such as health and education, social and ecological policies need sustainable financial backing. While we agree that government should incentivise job creation in various sectors of the economy, government should re-introduce the 35% maximum tax rate to be able to finance the welfare state. Malta’s tax rate is amongst the lowest in the European Union”.  

“We demand an increase in the minimum wage, which will cover also part-time work and work on definite contracts. With regards definite work contract, government should introduce fiscal measures to make such work more expensive than regular employment. This will lead to more social justice and an employment environment beneficial to economic growth”.

“Subsidies on basic services, such as gas should be re-introduced. We declare the need for more investment in renewable energy and to ensure the use of public buildings for the installation of photovoltaic panels to service neighboring homes that don’t have the space or facilities to put up these installations. This will have the benefit of increasing green jobs”. 

“Regarding COLA, Żminijietna insists that this should be reformed to reflect the real cost of living, as must all social benefits. Government should create community centers to ensure independent living for the disabled and other vulnerable groups. Social cases having social benefits should not lose these benefits if they find employment and earn more, even fractionally than the minimum wage”.  

“Inclusive policies will result in more female participation in the labour market, and this applies also to minorities like ex prisoners and first time offenders. Free child care centers must be provided, and government should introduce family-friendly measures to balance work with the parental responsibilities and leisure time. Private sector should be included in this scheme”.

“Clear mechanisms must be created to set the rates of pay. Maximum wage should be introduced in the public sector to strengthen equality and prevent astronomical wages in certain grades”.

“To increase public finances we insist that government introduce special taxation on windfall profits in the banking, financial and gaming industries. Vacant properties can be taxed, while the war against tax evasion must be strengthened. Eco-taxes must be made to work against all who damage the environment”.

“The state must not abandon its responsibility to ensure decent and affordable social housing for the most vulnerable sector of the population”.

Żminijietna reiterates that “the government priorities the question of pensions and ensure a state pension providing a decent and dignified standard of living for the old age population”. 

Press Release 1 November 2013

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