Updated at 6.30pm
Another €50 million from the citizenship programme will be used for the building of around 500 housing units, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Tuesday.
Addressing Labour Party supporters attending the May 1 celebrations in Valletta, Dr Muscat said the government would be helping those who did not have a home and could not afford one to stand on their own two feet.
It had already embarked upon a new large-scale €58 million social housing project on a number of different sites. The project will see 680 new apartments being built for people truly in need.
Excavation works, he said, were currently underway at six sites and had been concluded at another six. Another four sites were to start being excavated soon.
The next step, Dr Muscat said, was to publish tenders for the construction and finishing of these sites, so that they could become housing units.
“This is because the country can afford it. And because we have worked wisely in the past five years without squandering money, today we are in a position to announce a new social housing investment for those who are really in need.”
Dr Muscat said the government had asked the National and Social Development Fund, which managed funds deriving from the citizenship programme, to allocate another social housing project to the tune of €50 million for around 500 new units.
“This, together with the project that we have already started, means that this government will be implementing the largest social initiative of our times and this will be part of our legacy as a movement. This means that in a few years we would have around 1,100 new social housing units, at a total investment of €100 million.”
The Prime Minister also spoke on the rental market and said it was time for more stability in prices and giving the market more certainty.
“At the same time, we will introduce landlord duties, as well as new rights. Respecting the market while giving the market guidance.
“In the coming weeks we will open a wide consultation process to create a balance that seeks social justice. Where we will help those owning property to have a just profit, and help those renting to live in their homes and not keep on drowning in uncertainty.”
The proposals that would be put forward, he said, would seek to create a balance and ensure social justice.
The Prime Minister recalled last year’s May 1 celebrations which had preceded the general election and thanked the people for the trust they had shown in Labour.
“The people responded in the thousands by giving us a stronger mandate than ever before to keep moving forward, not stopping halfway, but to keep going forward on this journey that we started together.
“For this, I would like to thank you, wholeheartedly. And it is with great humility that I will do my utmost to return the trust you showed in us.”
The Prime Minister said more results were being achieved and highlighted benefits such as increases in social contributions and pensions for the elderly. He also noted legislative progress including that introducing marriage equality, that to strengthen the fight against domestic violence, and now amendments to the IVF law.
“We are the voice of that man who wants to become a father. The voice of that woman who want to become a mother. We are the voice of those children who have will be fortunate enough to be welcomed into the world by parents that were ready to go through all this suffering to give them life.
“As I was ready and willing to be the lone voice for minority rights in the past, I am once again ready to be that lone voice today. Yet I am confident that just as you did not leave me alone in the past, you will not leave me alone today.”
The event began outside Castille Square, with party supporters gradually making their way past parliament to Tritons Square for the event which will last into the evening.
A webcam of Tritons Square provided by a private, Italy-based firm went offline earlier on Tuesday.
As the celebrations in Valletta were underway, Occupy Justice published a video demanding better as it compared the noise in the capital to the stillness in Bidnija, where journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed on October 16.