The Labour Party is bolstering the robust social programme we have already put in place. The up and coming generation is at the heart of this social programme.
The general election campaign is now well underway after it was called by the Prime Minister. It has been touted since the very first days of Abela’s tenure however national interest dictated otherwise. Lives and livelihoods had to be saved when a global pandemic hit. Now that the country is well underway towards recovery it is time we make the decision for the next five years.
This kickstarted an electoral campaign according to my obersation is has unleashed widespread enthusiasm.
Both parties moved quickly. The Labour Party opened with a bang and cemented its status as the party focused on the future of Maltese society and possessing a vision of what it should look like.
A greener and more socially equal country. These are the goals for the next legislature. Important promises were made in this direction as €700 million will be invested in greening urban centres. This investment will see new open public spaces in busy towns, pedestrian zones in every village, as well as urban reclamation project. We are after unlocked potential we know is attainable.
The quality which distinguishes this party in government is its refusal to shy away from certain challenges. Despite attaining full employment during a pandemic, a feat that is unimaginable for many of our European partners, there were segments of the population for whom work did not necessarily pay or it didn’t pay sufficiently. To secure better disposable income to workers, we are promising a reduction on income tax – a pledge that will concretely mean a better standard of living to many a worker and self-employed. Additionally, in ensuring that the most vulnerable are enabled to live more decently, a considerable increase of pensions is being promised that will see a minimum of €15 per week raise for every pensioner over the coming five years.
Housing affordability is another challenge we face. Venturing into employment after years of studying does not immediately place one in a position to purchase a house given the current market conditions. Help has been provided over the last years especially to first time buyers but the Labour Party is reiterating its support for youths to grow and design their own future. Testament to this is the pledge of €10,000 grant to all first time buyers on their homeloan and the strengthening of the Home Deposit Scheme whereby the Housing Authority covers the 10% downpayment paid upon the signing or the promise of sale agreeement. This will open wide open the gates to homeownership to more and more young people.
The Labour Party is bolstering the robust social programme we have already put in place. The up and coming generation is at the heart of this social programme. Last week we have unveiled a Child’s Guarantee which will see €145 million invested in our children. 9 years ago we were told that universal free childcare is impossible to implement and we have delivered. Now that it has been in place for years for children of parents who are employed or studying, we are now ensuring that it will be implemented universally, for all children in Malta and Gozo. We will also add onto the Children’s Allowance – crucial in the life of children in low to medium income households. Parents will be receiving additions on their in-work benefits. These are complemented with an array of measures to sustain the educational experience of children, including by digital means, free books, and the promotion of extra-curricular activities.
This is proving to be a government that listens to the people. Gone are the days where people felt alienated from a political authority in an ivory tower. Case in point is the promise to return the land in Zonqor, forming part of the American University of Malta’s deal to the people within the first 100 days of a new Labour Government and the decision announced by the Prime Minister that the plans for a marina in Marsascala are dead and gone. Some used to an arrogant brand of politics will speak of U-turns, but this is merely a government that is willing to engage in dialogue and which responds positively to its outcome.
This flying start by Labour is built around a positive message that is winning people’s hearts as reflected by national polls.
PN also attempted to give the impression that they were fully prepared going as far as mounting a rally on Sunday. The plan faltered when four of their current parliamentary group withdrew from the race. Damage controllers were quick to try make it look as if it was part of a rejuvenation plan of the party, but everybody knows the deserters aren’t among the oldest, and Mario Galea’s words this week proved the worst kept scret of deep rooted scisms. There is a limit to the extent one may gaslight a declining organisation.
I always considered electoral campaigns as an irreplaceable window onto the parties’ vision for the future of the country and their organisational preparedness as it sheds light onto their readiness to govern from day one of the legislature. Even if I had to limit muself to tje first days of this campaign, my opinion is rather clear. However, our firm belief in the willingness to listen must remain at the heart of all that we are doing and saying as it is clearly the characteristic that may continue to win us the trust of the majority.