02 December 2003

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Sant attacks government in strong budget speech

In a hard hitting speech in Parliament Opposition leader Alfred Sant has lashed out at the government for its budget, which he felt was socially unjust, besides being unrealistic.
In one of the rather long speeches that characterise such occasions, Dr Sant poured cold water on what many were taking as an acceptable budget.
His main accusations centred on his claims that the government will not achieve its projections for 2003 as stated in the budget. He said that for the deficit to be brought down to Lm108 million, government revenue must increase by Lm28 million over the last three months of the year, a task which, according to Dr Sant, would be a very difficult.
The leader of the Labour Party also said government needs to collect Lm73 million in income tax from October to December to reach Lm203 million. That would mean collecting Lm28 million more than last year, again a difficult task, Sant contends.
Wile VAT revenue is expected to rise by 13 percent according to budget projections, Sant pointed out that it had merely increased by 4 percent up to September, and he questioned how, and whether, government would be able to make up the difference.
The leader of the Opposition also said Malta would be paying more to the EU than receiving, and gave figures to prove his point.
Another large section of Sant’s speech was devoted to showing that the budget was un-social and he accused the government of cutting expenditure on the social sectors and spending too much on various agencies and corporations. The Malta Financial and Business Times attempted to contact finance minister John Dalli for his reaction, but he was unavailable for comment.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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