No mandatory second pillar pensions under Labour, Muscat says
Private pension schemes, economic growth and a bigger overall workforce would guard against the need to introduce a mandatory second-pillar pension within the next legislature, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said this morning.
Speaking outside St Vincent De Paul residential home, the PL leader said Labour was committed to not raising the retirement age any further and he pledged to begin the process of increasing the minimum pension until it reached 60 per cent of the national average income - something he admitted would not be achieved within one legislature.
Dr Muscat however did not explain how the PL reconciled its calculations with those of a government-appointed pensions working group, which last year found that even a massive increase in workforce participation would not be enough to make Malta's pensions system sustainable. The group's report also said a second-pillar pension system was necessary - something social partners have agreed to oppose.
Neither political party has ever directly responded to the report findings.
Dr Muscat argued that some of the working group's conclusions were "contradictory" and said the PL would meet with group members to better understand their reasoning. He added that the government had never made its position on the working group report clear.
The PL leader also listed some of his party's other proposals for the elderly. Those with a home carer would be exempt from paying stamp duty for their carer, while pensioners who continued to work would get a full pension.
A comprehensive law regulating elderly homes would be enacted, while specialised "patient hotels" would offer short-term care for the elderly. Day care centres would be turned into "lifelong learning hubs" to better match lifelong learning aims, Dr Muscat added.
The PL leader declined to enter into the merits of the Presidential pardon granted to George Farrugia in exchange for evidence concerning oil procurement corruption. He said the pardon could only be judged on the basis of what evidence emerged from it.
He however called on the Prime Minister to make a clear statement about the emails published yesterday by The Sunday Times, which make reference to an "AG".
"I don't want to speculate, but everyone can read," Dr Muscat said. " Austin Gatt should clear the air with a proper declaration. And the government's reply yesterday was very weak - in fact it was no reply at all," he said.
Dr Muscat also said that Anglu Farrugia had been informed of the PL decision to send him to a Falklands conference as a party representative before the announcement was publicly made. He however declined to say when party officials had first approached Dr Farrugia with the offer.