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Updated: Good Budget feeling tempered by uncertainty

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Unions and employers were given heads up on the Budget by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech this morning... and at the end of it they seemed pleased.

The two-hour presentation to the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, a forum for social partners, was delivered a day before Mr Fenech reads out the last Budget of this administration.

The minister is expected to partially fulfill an electoral pledge to lower the top income tax rate by spreading out the reduction over three years.

But a dark shadow hangs over the Budget after backbencher Franco Debono said he will vote against.

The threat did not go unnoticed in the meeting with Stefano Mallia from the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Enterprise telling journalists after, it was important the country woke up on January 1 with an approved Budget.

He called on MPs to put the national interest first and do away with the uncertainty.

The concern was also raised by UHM general secretary Josef Vella.

Union leaders were generally pleased but GWU general secretary Tony Zarb expressed disappointment because the Minister ignored three quarters of his union's proposals.

The social partners agreed that all depended on the final outcome of tomorrow's Budget, which Mr Fenech said will continue to be fine-tuned till the last minute.

Mr Fenech described the meeting as positive and said he took note of some concerns raised. He is expected to brief Cabinet later on this morning on the Budget.

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