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