Green groups sometimes have a restricted view of what the environment means according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

He was reacting this afternoon to criticism that the budget failed to address environmental issues.

“I appreciate their criticism and respect it but sometimes environment groups adopt a restricted definition that is only linked to development,” Dr Muscat said.

He noted that issues such as the dismantling of the Marsa power station, the shift to gas in energy generation and the budget measure to encourage people to correctly dispose of plastic and aluminium were also environmental issues.

Dr Muscat said the splitting of the planning and environment authority next year would strengthen the environmental aspect.

When asked about the Opposition’s criticism of the budget as being socially unjust, Dr Muscat said Simon Busuttil (Opposition leader) made conflicting arguments.

“It makes no sense that Dr Busuttil should criticise the income tax reduction as socially unjust when the measure was originally proposed by the PN.”

He said the Budget had measures that targeted the socially disadvantaged with substantial hand outs for families with children.

The Prime Minister welcomed the debate on fuel prices, insisting that contrary to what happened in the past, people were discussing how cheap it should be rather than how expensive it will be.


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