Current Affairs
Prime Minister announces that wage supplement will be extended beyond October

Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Robert Abela has announced that the wage supplement for those in private employment who have had their jobs threatened by the pandemic is to be extended beyond October.

Interviewed on ONE Television, Dr Abela stated that the budget for next year will demonstrate the Government’s social soul, with an emphasis on pensioners, workers and those who are lagging behind. Dr Abela stressed that fair distribution of wealth is the main aim of this Government.

The preparations for next year’s budget was one of the themes tackled in the interview with the Prime Minister. Dr Abela pointed out that in the crisis circumstances he could have opted for the easy solution of increasing taxes, but gave an assurance he would avoid austerity and instead, will continue incentivising honest businesses and workers. Other mainstays of this budget, the Prime Minister added, would be road improvement, development of industrial zones, foreign investment and the environment. Dr Abela reiterated that the budget would show the Government’s social soul, with a commitment that he will continue giving the people a good quality of living.

Questioned about the schools, the Prime Minister said it was crucial for these to open, as the country cannot lose a generation of children during their social and economic development. Dr Abela added that as a parent, he had chosen to send his daughter to school, and explained that although the Government will not be fining parents who opt not to send their children to school, the damage if children do not attend school will be much greater. In this regard, the Prime Minister referred to protocols drawn up by the health and education authorities to ensure a safe environment for students in schools. On the spread of Covid-19, Dr Abela said the strategy will remain focused on protecting the vulnerable, and if the need is felt for more measures, these will be taken. The Prime Minister added that this situation will continue for some time, and availability of a vaccine will not mean the pandemic will disappear overnight.

Referring to migration, Dr Abela said he could not understand how a candidate for the post of Nationalist Party leader is sending a message that Malta is not ‘full up’, and asked how he would handle the arrivals if he is not in agreement with this basic principle. The Prime Minister added that he can understand the Maltese are not happy and are hurt because of the migration situation, adding that the Government is committed to convincing Europeans to join forces with Malta in order to tackle the roots of this problem, and this on the Libyan shores. Dr Abela further stated that the Government has managed to reduce migrant arrivals by two-thirds in August, and will continue working to strengthen the relocation mechanism, as had happened in recent days when a group had been relocated to France.