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PL would expand after-school schemes

Joseph Muscat chats with children at Mickey’s Childcare Centre at Bulebel Industrial Estate. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Joseph Muscat chats with children at Mickey’s Childcare Centre at Bulebel Industrial Estate. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Working parents need more help to look after their children at the end of the school day, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said yesterday, pledging “heavy investment” to expand after-school care programmes.

He praised as a success existing initiatives such as Klabb 3-16 and said the amount of investment necessary would be gauged after discussions with those running them.

Labour, he added, would reinvigorate efforts to offer public sector employees family-friendly working conditions.

“The Government started off with a very positive attitude but even unions agree that it now seems to have lost steam. We need to offer flexitime, tele-working or reduced hours arrangements to more workers,” Dr Muscat said.

He was speaking immediately after a visit to Mickey’s Childcare Centre in Bulebel Industrial Estate. The centre has some 100 children on its books, caring for approximately 60 at any one time.

Directors Lucienne and Simon Zammit showed the Labour leader around the premises while carers sang and played with children, building sand castles and filling in colouring books.

The PL’s promise of further investment in after-school care services is a corollary to the party’s proposal to provide free childcare to full-time workers with toddlers.

Free childcare would be pro­vided in partnership with the private sector, although Dr Muscat yesterday said that a PL-led government would step in if the private sector was unable to satisfy demand. He said the party’s desire to extend after-school care services was also aimed at getting more women into work.

Earlier in the morning, Dr Muscat paid a brief visit to hawkers selling their wares at the Mosta market.

But inclement weather put paid to any hopes of an extended meet-and-greet and the PL leader was whisked away, to resume week three of the electoral campaign.

More resources for corruption probes

The Labour Party’s calls for removing time-barring constraints on political corruption cases would also see the Auditor-General be given the “necessary resources” to revisit previous investigations.

“We’re not interested in witch hunts or in covering up for anyone,” Dr Muscat said.

Danish power station supplier BWSC’s tender to construct Delimara’s power station extension had been subject to an inquiry by the Auditor-General. Did the party want an inquiry into BWSC to be reopened?

“The Auditor-General has said he could not investigate fully due to a lack of resources. Once resources are made available to him, one would expect him to reopen the investigations he feels merit scrutiny,” he said.

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