Pen­sions, toi­letries, con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als and traf­fic – vary­ing re­ac­tions to Bud­get 2017

Malta Independent - - BUDGET 2017 -

The in­tro­duc­tion of the ex­cise duty on toi­letries and de­ter­gents and the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to com­bat the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion in the Bud­get 2017 was crit­i­cised by mem­bers of the pub­lic, but they also praised its abil­ity to tackle is­sues con­cern­ing low-wage earn­ers and pen­sion­ers in a vox pop con­ducted by The Malta In­de­pen­dent in Val­letta.

A ma­jor­ity of peo­ple that spoke to The Malta In­de­pen­dent praised the bud­get for pro­vid­ing for those who are in need and vul­ner­a­ble. A bulk of pen­sion­ers seemed to find no fault with a bud­get that was favourable to their de­mo­graphic. A woman said that it was a bud­get that showed that the eco­nomic pros­per­ity had to be shared with ev­ery­one.

One man re­marked that he had “never seen a bud­get like this”. The same man did how­ever say that he was dis­ap­pointed that the gov­ern­ment ne­glected solv­ing the traf­fic prob­lem, but also said that this was a long­stand­ing prob­lem that had not been dealt with, and the an­nual in­crease of cars on the road has only wors­ened the sit­u­a­tion.

A man how­ever com­plained that while the bud­get is favourable to­ward those in need, he feels that, in his re­spect, ex­penses have only in­creased. In spite of be­ing a hard­work­ing con­trib­u­tor to so­ci­ety he will now need to pay higher taxes due to in­creased pen­sions.

Two women placed par­tic­u­lar dis­dain on the in­tro­duc­tion of an ex­cise duty on toi­letries and other house­hold items. The bud­get, one of the women claimed, does not ben­e­fit it her at all, go­ing as far to say that “it took more than it gave”. The pro­posal, she said, would im­pact her daily ex­penses whilst the other woman re­marked that it would mean that a ma­jor­ity of house­wives would not be able to spend their money on other ac­tiv­i­ties.

The con­cern with the ex­cise duty on toi­letries was echoed by a num­ber of other peo­ple, with one man say­ing that for him the bud­get was “noth­ing, it’s prob­a­bly a bit bad for my­self, since the price of daily house­hold items has in­creased”.

One of the women also crit­i­cised the ex­ten­sion of the first­time buy­ers scheme and the tax on con­struc­tion ma­te­rial. This, like be­fore, will only in­crease prices in the al­ready ex­pen­sive prop­erty mar­ket, which is al­ready a mas­sive bur­den on the in­comes of the younger gen­er­a­tion. She went on to say that gov­ern­ment should have in­stead fo­cused on re­duc­ing the traf­fic prob­lem, which has got­ten out of con­trol.

Both of them seemed to agree that the bud­get would only be detri­men­tal to smaller busi­nesses. A man also felt that the gov­ern­ment did not deal with the most im­por­tant is­sues fac­ing the coun­try at the mo­ment, plac­ing par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est on Air Malta. The man said that he fears that Malta’s na­tional air­line would fail with­out proper gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion. Cur­rently, the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Air Malta and Al­i­talia seemed to have stalled with Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat say­ing mul­ti­ple times that he is will­ing to “pull the plug” on the deal.

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