Half give Budget 2017 thumbs up
Half of respondents, 50.3%, have given Budget 2017 the thumbs up, the November edition of the iSurvey commissioned by The Malta Independent has shown. Respondents then awarded the second highest proportion of responses to ‘ineffective’, at 25.9%.
Respondents were asked: How would you rate the budget? Overall, 50.3% said it was ‘good’, 19.2% chose ‘bad’, 25.9% chose ‘ineffective’ and 4.5% refused to answer the question.
The government described its third budget as being a truly “social” one, with particular emphasis on measures aimed at pensioners and the socially vulnerable. In an interview with Finance Minister Edward Scicluna some days after the budget was announced, he explained the government’s systematic approach by first making work pay through its first budget, the following year the goal was to reduce social dependency as much as possible, and now it was to address those most vulnerable such as pensioners and to strengthen the distribution of wealth.
The Opposition had heavily criticised the government for leaving out the middle-class and that it lacks vision. Confronted by this criticism by this newsroom, Professor Scicluna explained the overall plan, which has been described above. He also said that anybody who thinks the budget left out the middle-class, “must not have read the budget.”
He then outlined measures such as the vast reduction of inheritance tax for business owners who want to pass on that business to their children, the refunding of withholding tax on dividends for those in the 25% tax bracket, the extension of the firsttime buyers’ scheme and more.
Shadow minister for home affairs and deputy leader of the Nationalist Party Beppe Fenech Adami criticised in particular the lack of mention in the entire budget document of funds allocated to the Corradino Correctional Facility and the police in general.
Some criticism was also made over the introduction of an excise duty on toiletries and a number of other goods.
The European Commission has approved Malta’s 2017 budget.
PL and PN voter split
When breaking down responses based on the way people voted in the 2013 general election, it was found that:
Out of those who voted PL, 75.5% rated it as good, 6% as bad, 16.1% as ineffective and 2.4% refused to answer the question.
Out of those who voted PN, only 22.3% rated it as good, 42.3% as bad, 31.5% as ineffective and 3.8% refused to answer the question.
Males and females were found to have responded to the question almost identically, with 50.8% and 49.8% respectively rating is as good, 18.6% and 19.7% rating it as bad, and 27.2% and 24.7% found it to be ineffective.
It is of no surprise, in view of the some 20 budget measures that aim to assist pensioners, the highest proportion of approval ratings came from those aged 65+, at 63.9%. The age group which rated the budget as good came from the 35-44 cohort at 49%. This is also the age group which gave the highest ‘ineffective’ rating at 27.1%.
The November 2016 iSurvey – the sixth of its kind – was commissioned to Business Leaders Malta on behalf of The Malta Independent. A total of 600 respondents were used, representative of age, gender and spread of localities. With such a sample size, the margin of error is +/- 4%. More info from the iSurvey will continue to emerge throughout this week.