Labour’s 836 proposals: ‘A roadmap for change’
With a total of 188 pages and a list of 836 proposals, the Labour Party manifesto is a behemoth.
Approved yesterday by the party’s general conference, the extensive document covers 20 chapters ranging from education to the economy, civil liberties to democratic reform.
The more salient proposals have already been announced by the party over the past few weeks as it adopted a piecemeal approach to exposing its “roadmap for change”.
However, the manifesto paints a mixed picture of continuity, change and statements of principle.
From the creation of “a Wi-Fi state” that ensures nationwide wireless internet access, to the formation of a special police unit to manage tourist zones, the proposals target generic and specific issues.
The Labour Party also used its manifesto to reaffirm its commitment to building a new campus at Mcast, the completion of the oncology hospital, the continuation of works on the bio-Malta campus, the retention of the college system for government schools and keeping tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools.
The following are excerpts from the manifesto that exclude most of the proposals already announced during the campaign.
The manifesto beefs up the proposal to give tablet computers to Year 4 children by saying that these will also be given to teachers and Learning Support Assistants. Incentives will also be given to publishing houses and individuals to create digital educational material in Maltese.
A Labour government will be committed to address bullying in schools, including that linked to sexual orientation, race and ethnicity.
While emphasising the need for high safety standards a Labour government would consider, after consultation, the introduction of security guards in schools.
Church and independent schools
Labour will not rock the boat and is committed to keeping the financial assistance agreement with Church schools. Tax credits for parents who send children to private schools will be “improved” and in a special mention, the Islamic school Mariam Al Batool’s future will be “secured”.
Choice at University level
A Labour government will encourage foreign universities or institutes to open regional campuses in Malta, possibly even in Gozo. A tax credit equivalent to the interest paid on loans will be given to students who continue studying at post-graduate level.
Labour will retain the tax cut announced in the last Budget and immediately remove income tax on minimum-wage earners. Without giving specific details the manifesto says income tax bands will be adjusted gradually so that more families pay less tax.
A Labour government will aim to make Malta the first Wi-Fi state in the world by extending free Wi-Fi in public buildings and open spaces.
A specialised police unit trained to manage security in tourist zones will be created. Action teams with specific budgets and workers will be set up to ensure regular maintenance of tourist areas.
Free childcare centres will be set up but for parents who opt to send children to private centres, the tax credit on fees paid will increase to €2,000.
Fiscal incentives will be introduced to encourage people to take out a private pension under the third pillar.
The post of commissioner for the protection of animals will be created to investigate animal abuse, suggest measures to make the country animal-friendly and conduct educational campaigns. Public spaces will be accessible to pets.
Sustainable spring hunting according to EU regulations will be guaranteed and a Labour government would ensure hunters will have the same treatment as their European counterparts.
The paid vehicular access system to Valletta will be reformed and entry into Valletta will be free of charge after 2pm and Saturday.
The Government will draw up a national traffic management plan to identify road bottlenecks with priority being given to upgrading the Addolorata and Kappara junctions.
A future government would engage in talks with bus operator Arriva to improve the service and routes with a view to removing bendy buses on routes where it is evident they are causing congestion.
Financial services Ombudsman
The Ombudsman will have the power to investigate consumer complaints and decisions will be of an executive nature.
Easy loan transfer
It will be easier for bank clients to transfer house loans from one bank to another. In this way they will benefit from competition between banks on interest rates.
Police extra duty
Income derived by the police for performing extra duty will be taxed at 15 per cent.