The government has dismissed suggestions that wages for junior ministers have doubled, saying that the claims are based on an incorrect reading of the data. 

“Salaries for all cabinet members are exactly as they were in 2013,” the government said in a brief statement. 

It comes after Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi wrote on Facebook that parliamentary secretaries had their salaries “doubled by stealth” between 2017 and 2018. 

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He drew that conclusion after The Shift News delved into cabinet members’ declarations of assets and noted how parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri declared income of € 33,895 in 2017 which rose to €60,796 the following year. 

However, Mr Schembri’s 2017 salary was only for six months of the year, as his term began following the June general election. 

“It seems the author mistakenly concluded that parliamentary secretary salaries have doubled,” the government said. 

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has hinted that he is amenable to discussing raises to politicians' wages, saying earlier this year that the matter merited serious national discussion. 

Controversy over a €500-a-week raise which was not publicly discussed had plagued the Nationalist administration which Dr Muscat toppled in 2013. 

A leaked report which Dr Muscat had commissioned one month after assuming office suggested a radical overhaul of politicians' wages. It said salaries should virtually double, MPs be made full-time and have money deducted when they miss parliamentary sittings.

The government had introduced a variation of that latter suggestion in 2016, and MPs are now docked €50 whenever they miss a sitting without justification. 

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