The government should absorb cost of living increases through tax incentives to stop the "vicious circle" of inflation, PN leader Bernard Grech suggested on Sunday. 

Speaking on NET, Grech said employers are having to reflect cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases in their goods and services and this was further increasing prices.  

“This is a vicious circle,” he said. 

“Employers should get tax incentives so as not to feel the additional burden,” he said. 

COLA increases should also be untaxed, Grech added, saying that as it stands the government is profiting from increases through taxation.  

The yearly cost of living adjustment reached an unprecedented €9.90 a week for all full-time employees this year. The government will net around €25 million in extra taxes as a result.  

But Grech said this was unjust.

“If you were given a wage increase to reflect the cost of living why is the government taxing that increase,” he said.  

Grech said the government should also help importers absorb higher costs through a €40 million fund. This will reduce the price burdens being shifted onto consumers, he said.  

Hospitals deal 

Grech said that patients are suffering because of the effects left by the fraudulent Vitals/Steward hospitals deal.   

Instead of investing in the refurbishment of St Luke’s Hospital and building a new Gozo hospital, hundreds of millions of euros were stolen.  

As a result, patients are on long waiting lists only to go to hospital when they are called and then told that their operation is postponed.  

“Is the health service better or worse, is the situation of medicines out of stock better or worse,” Grech asked. 

Grech also pointed out that some chemotherapy drugs are out of stock even though they are available abroad.   

Jean Paul Sofia inquiry

Grech reiterated his call for a public inquiry into the death of 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia, who was killed in a construction accident in December.  

“On Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to Jean Paul Sofia’s mother who is fighting for justice,” Grech said.  

Prime Minister Robert Abela has so far ignored pleas from Sofia’s mother Isabelle Bonnici for a public inquiry into the death of her son, insisting there is a magisterial inquiry underway and that should be as quick and comprehensive as possible.  

“She suffered and still suffers but she has a right to rest and know the truth... Let us ignore our differences and do what we must,” Grech appealed. 

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