Budget 2016 should address social inequality – Zminijietna
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Zminijietna – Voice of the Left has appealed to the Government to tackle social inequality in the upcoming budget by strengthening social measures and moving away from neo-liberal policy which increases inequality.
“Official statistics show that Malta is experiencing increased economic growth, but is also increasing an increase in number of people at risk-of-poverty. Hence, an improved economic situation does not necessarily translate in more social equality.”
Zminijietna said that it therefore urges the Government to increase measures that tackle poverty, inequality and precariousness. “These include an increase in the minimum wage; progressive legislation against precarious employment; and upward revisions in social benefits to help those in need.”
“We agree with active policies which encourage people to seek employment, but these should not be at the expense of universal welfare benefits, which often protect people from falling into poverty.”
It also appealed to the Government to keep investing in progressive measures such as universally accessible childcare services – “which should also be available for free for parents not in employment, pre and after school services for children, lifelong training programmes and more universal educational services.”
As regards fiscal policy, Zminijietna called on the Government to introduce radical measures, such as tax on vacant properties (third property onwards) and the polluters pay principle. “We also expect the Government to announce policies which ensure that all pensioners have a decent income.”
With regards to health, Zminijietna said that it urges the Government to invest more; to strengthen the primary health care system; an increase in staff and services provided in the community, hospitals and clinics.