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Labour says PN's projections are 'incredible and unbelievable'

Labour MEP Edward Scicluna said this evening that it was incredible that Finance Minister Tonio Fenech had said that the PN electoral promises, costing an average of €120 million in recurrent expenditure every year, would be funded through increased efficiency in government spending.

Speaking at a press conference, Prof Scicluna said this government had a poor record where spending efficiencies were involved.

One only needed to remember the outcry last year when the EU told the government to reduce its spending by €40 million.

Yet the PN was making promises which would increase recurrent expenditure by €120 million, and the minister had said at a press conference this afternoon that the increases would be covered by improved efficiencies and recurrent expenditure would not change from the projections he had made in the Budget.

The question, Prof Scicluna said, was what would happen if these efficiencies were not achieved The answer was that the deficit would increase by 1.5 percentage points per year, and the dream of achieving a balanced budget would remain just that.

PL finance spokesman Karmenu Vella said such projections continued to undermine the PN’s credibility and that of the Finance Minister. It was little wonder that the European Commission and rating agencies such as Standard and Poor’s had shown that they did not believe government projections.

Malta had repeatedly missed deficit reduction targets, he said.

There were the same old people promising the same old things, he said, and they could not be believed.

When pressed by journalists whether a Labour government would aim for and achieve a balanced budget, Mr Vella said Labour would certainly be more efficient in its spending that the current one.

Prof Scicluna said it would be an achievement if Labour managed to stop the rise in the government debt, something which the present government never managed to do.

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