PN slams govern­ment’s €300,000 to as­sist 41,000 peo­ple in need of ur­gent as­sis­tance

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

PN MPs yes­ter­day slammed an an­nounce­ment made by Min­is­ter for So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity Michael Far­ru­gia, that €300,000 will be spent to help 41,000 peo­ple in need of im­me­di­ate as­sis­tance in an at­tempt to tackle poverty, say­ing that this is not enough.

PN MP Paula Mif­sud Bon­nici said that sta­tis­tics re­leased by govern­ment show that un­der this govern­ment, the num­ber of peo­ple at risk of poverty rose to 94,000.

Re­fer­ring to the scheme by Min­is­ter Michael Far­ru­gia, she said: “I don’t think with €300,000 for 41,000 govern­ment will do much. This re­sults in €0.61 per month for each per­son. “You can­not even buy a packet of pasta each month with that”.

“Govern­ment noted a year ago that it was not di­vid­ing the good with ev­ery­one, and then an­nounced a scheme us­ing cash from the con­sol­i­dated fund. We ex­pected govern­ment to bring out a bet­ter scheme than this after one year”.

“Michael Far­ru­gia con­firmed through a Par­lia­men­tary Ques­tion that the wait­ing list for so­cial hous­ing is now at 3,300,” she said.

Turn­ing to medicines, she said that el­derly per­sons de­serve free medicine. “There are some el­derly per­sons who choose not to pur­chase their medicine as their pen­sions do not al­low for it”.

PN MP Stephen Spi­teri spoke about so­cial in­jus­tice and in­creas­ing poverty. Turn­ing to the €0.61 in­crease, he said that these are peo­ple who can­not deal with the rise in daily ex­penses.

He men­tioned that there has been an in­crease in food prices, an in­crease in taxes and li­censes. This, he said, re­sulted in an in­crease in those at risk of poverty.

The rent prices from govern­ment hous­ing is re­sult­ing in a re­duced qual­ity of life, he said, adding that there is a lack of qual­ity jobs. “While govern­ment is boast­ing about more jobs and fewer un­em­ployed, one sees prob­lems with wages etc, mean­ing there is a lack of qual­ity jobs”.

PN MP Robert Cu­ta­jar said that the meals on wheels ser­vice seems to be hav­ing prob­lems. “Govern­ment said that there is a pos­si­bil­ity that the prac­tice might change, and that the prob­a­bil­ity is that food or­dered by clients be cooked, frozen and then taken to the el­derly. In­stead of a hot meal, it seems we will give more work for the el­derly, who would need to find a way to warm up their food”.

“Why is govern­ment, while say­ing the econ­omy is grow­ing, al­low­ing such prob­lems for the vul­ner­a­ble?”

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