25 April - 1 May 2001

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The Labour Party will not commit itself on the benchmarking exercise unless the government publishes the details of such an exercise.

Labour Party spokesman Leo Brincat told The Business Times that nobody knows how the benchmarking exercise is going to work. "It is useless talking about the broad as pect of benchmarking because details are more important,” he insisted.

Mr Brincat continued, "It is one thing if the benchmarks are drawn fairly and in consultation with the constituted bodies and a totally different thing if the benchmarks are drawn arbitrarily by the Tax Compliance Unit."

Asked by The Business Times about the Labour Party’s position on VAT, Mr. Brincat reiterated that the party is currently monitoring the situation.

"VAT needs to be amended to bring it in line with EU legislation and the Labour Party will monitor the changes and announce its position at a later stage, well ahead of the general election", Mr. Brincat explained.

The Labour Party had replaced VAT with CET when it was elected to govern in 1996. At the time the party told voters that it was ‘Absolutely your [their] last chance to remove VAT’. In a recent interview on Lou Bondi’s Virtwali, former Labour minister Lino Spiteri claimed that prior to 1996 the MLP’s decision to remove VAT was taken without any internal discussion on the matter.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt