Half give Bud­get 2017 thumbs up

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

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.

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