Lija's Sant Andrija band club has had its premises bought by the government in a €3.6 million deal to save it from eviction. 

The purchase was announced by the culture ministry in a statement on Wednesday. 

It is the tenth band club property to be bought by the government, which plans to invest €19 million in similar premises across the country.

The clubs all faced eviction from their premises, which they occupied at artificially low rental prices thanks to rent laws dating back 30 years. 

But following court judgements which ruled that those laws went against owners' right to enjoy their property, such clubs faced eviction. 

The other properties the government has bought are: Marsa's Marija Regina, Attard's Stella Levantina, Kalkara's San Giuseppe Filarmonika Sagra Familja, Birkirkara's Duke of Connaught's Own, Paola's Antoine de Paule, Sliema's Stella Maris, Birżebbuġa's San Pietru fil-Ktajjen, Qormi's Anici and Mosta's Soċjetà Filarmonika Santa Marija.

Agreement has been reached on a further two properties but the final contract has not been signed.

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said that band clubs play a crucial role in fostering cultural development and that it is often the people in these clubs who promote art and education in their communities. 

"These organisations depend a lot on the spaces they occupy to carry out their work effectively in the heart of the communities and therefore an eviction would not only seriously endanger their operation but also threaten their existence," he said.

He said it was "esssential" that the government take measures to protect and safeguard the clubs.

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