The Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia said that despite the surplus and economic growth, this was not being reflected in improving the quality of life for the Maltese. He said that while the gross domestic product had doubled, wages had only risen by 1.1%.
Dr. Delia said that the government had lost all sense of balance. He said that the balance was not just about the balance between revenue and expenditure but about sustainability – i.e. between development and the environment and between those earning a lot and those that could not cope. He said that the way of measuring growth and wealth should be replaced by sostenbbli growth and not growth which created its own problems of success.
At a news conference following the response to the budget speech, Dr. Delia said that while the Finance Minister said that Malta was facing challenges, he failed to mention what those challenges were and what solutions existed to remedy these. On its part, the Opposition had not only identified the challenges but was also coming up with proposals for the benefit of the Maltese people in a document that emphasised the need for balance and sustainability.
The Leader of the Opposition said that poverty in Malta was increasing. He said that there were some 90,000 people on the threshold of poverty and the Nationalist Party wanted to guarantee the right for all Maltese and Gozitans to have a roof over their head. He said that while the Government had called the Opposition negative and accused it of ignoring the budget, the proposals presented in the pre-budget document were positive, and that it was the government who was ignoring them. He went on to say that he had conveyed a number of arguments which the Government had every interest in ignoring.
Dr Delia said that the PN wanted to invest in future ġenerazzjonijet. He referred to the motion for Parliament to declare a climate change emergency. The Leader of the Opposition said that he does not want this to turn into a partisan issue but one which joined Parliament and the country.