Tax evasion is “a cancer” political parties have to address in a strong way, the Forum of trade unions is warning.

“We are living a social injustice and this cancer has to be grabbed by the horns,” Forum president John Bencini said yesterday during the publication of an election memorandum it will soon be presenting to political parties.

Mr Bencini said a new government had to fight tax fraud, corruption and undeclared work so that the tax burden on middle-class families could be reduced.

He also criticised benefit fraud and urged authorities to clamp down on abusers.

Curbing “rampant tax evasion” and reorganising the country’s expenditure priorities should ensure public finances were sustainable, he added.

Mr Bencini said the recent trend for ministries to employ consultants did not make sense.

“In one year the Education Ministry alone spent more than €1 million on consultants when it had numerous directorates and heads who could offer advice.”

Forum wanted more transparency and accountability at all levels of government.

It also wanted the government to be a model employer and eliminate precarious jobs by ensuring the contractors it engaged did not abuse their workers.

The unions did not want the retirement age to increase and urged political parties to resist EU pressure on this issue.

They also urged the government to adopt a tougher stance in the EU on illegal immigration. “Burden sharing should be obligatory and if need be the government should stamp its feet,” Mr Bencini said, adding Malta should find its own solutions if it was ignored.

On health, he said a new government should take more effective action to cut down waiting lists and hospital overcrowding. The hospital administration, not consultants, should handle the waiting lists for operations, and patients should be given a date for operations.

Forum is proposing that first-time home buyers who take out bank loans should have their interest payments deducted from income tax.

The group is also calling for the removal of all illegal structures, including the Armier boathouses, and for new transport strategies to take pressure off the roads, including a possible cable car system across the harbours and a monorail system.

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