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Scicluna digs into PN’s ‘irresponsible’ pledges

Country would be left with a bill of €340 million and excessive deficit

Several Nationalist Party proposals would leave the country with a bill of €340 million and an excessive deficit, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said.

Tax proposals, pension increases and the free childcare for all pledge made by the PN could not be financed unless the country goes back to the policy of running annual deficits, Prof. Scicluna explained.

He was addressing a press conference at Labour headquarters this morning.

The minister said the proposal to cut tax for the self-employed which was estimated at €85 million and promised to be introduced in the first year, was too massive a cut for public finances to be able to absorb in one year.

However, he also criticized the proposal because it would introduce a “sort of” company tax regime that undermined the arguments that every government until now has made when defending the country’s fiscal system internationally.

The PN’s tax proposal, including the 10 per cent for those earning up to €20,000, were regressive and anti-social since they benefited those who earned most
- Scicluna

Prof. Scicluna said the PN’s tax proposal, including the 10 per cent for those earning up to €20,000, were regressive and anti-social since they benefited those who earned most.

As for the proposed pension increases, Prof. Scicluna said he was confounded by the math used to calculate the impact.

The proposal to allow pensioners to pay back missing social security contributions had been calculated by the ministry to cost between €45 million and €75 million, he said. “This is why we opted for annual grants ranging between €200 and €300 for those who did not have enough NIs to enjoy a pension because the cost on public finances would not have been sustainable and yet here we have the PN shooting figures as if there is no tomorrow.”

Even the proposal to increase the minimum pension to minimum wage levels would cost almost three times more than calculated by the PN, he said.

Prof. Scicluna said the package of proposals would lead to a deficit, or else a PN government would have to raise taxes to make up for the shortfall. Otherwise, he added, the PN in government would find an excuse not to deliver on its pledges so as not to cripple public finances.

 

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