01 February 2006

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Business Today

Competitiveness next on Labour agenda

In the interlude between the World Cup and the August heat, Labour will once again steal the media limelight by approving four new policy documents on a variety of vital issues linked to the country’s competitiveness.
In the forthcoming general conference in July the MLP will approve its policy documents on Gozo, education, health and industry and manufacturing.
Labour leader Alfred Sant yesterday announced that in 2007 - the year preceding the election - the MLP would be focusing on social policy.
“We will be balancing our economic priorities with our vision of social justice,” Alfred Sant said.
Together with other party officials Alfred Sant, was addressing a press conference on the aftermath of last weekend’s general conference, which approved two policy documents, one on tourism and another on the environment.
By outlining its policies on education and industry labour will have to spell its road map for restoring Malta’s competitiveness.
Competitiveness is also central to Gozo, with its problem of double insularity.
The country’s health bill also has a direct bearing on the country’s competitiveness, especially in the light of the costs government will have to endure to run the new Mater Dei hospital.
Competitiveness has been a salient theme in both the initial document on economic and social regeneration and the tourism document.
But while the original draft contained a blue print of original reforms tackling thorny issues like health insurance and increasing female participation in the labour market, the approved documents steered away from controversy.
During yesterday’s press conference Sant deflected PN criticism that its plans on the environment and tourism are too vague, by putting the ball back in the government’s court.
He called on the government to accept the MLP’s proposal to appoint a task force involving all stakeholders to prepare a report on reducing the burden of taxation on tourism.
Sant also called on the government to accept the MLP’s proposal to introduce a time limit for the approval of large-scale development projects.
Alfred Sant also announced that on 12 February the MLP would be holding a national demonstration in Hamrun with the theme work, protection and dignity.
This will coincide with the beginning of the MLP’s local elections campaign.

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