Despite promising solutions to rising costs spurned by inflation, the government has failed to address the burden this has placed on the working class, PN MPs Ivan Bartolo and Charles Azzopardi said in a press conference on Friday.
“While the cost of living has been impacted by external factors such as the war in Ukraine, it is worth noting that for nine months the government has been promising to do something, but so far has failed to address inflation,” Bartolo said.
“There are people who are struggling to pay for their basic necessities and are barely living paycheck to paycheck, but the government’s mantra of surplus is over.”
Bartolo said that those who are already struggling are feeling the pinch even more: some are struggling to keep a roof over their heads due to soaring rent costs and others in full-time employment are taking extra jobs to try and hold their heads above water.
Some people were even ending up homeless, resorting to sleeping in cars or public places.
“Our quality of life is decreasing - this is not dignified living,” he said.
Both MPs said that while the government saw fit to waste its money on frivolous expenses and to serve its inner circle, normal working people had been left to fend for themselves.
“There are families who are having to resort to their relatives for help with rent and bills, meanwhile the government has thrown away millions to serve its inner circle,” Azzopardi said.
“Seemingly, there has been enough money to give frivolous consultation posts to friends of friends but not enough to address the disproportionate increase in prices of things like medicine, food or basic services.”
In the last budget, the government had promised a special COLA increase to address these issues, Azzopardi continued, but this has not materialised. It was only trotted out as an electoral promise before the last general election, he added.
“Families know that the government seems to have money for its closest friends but not enough for education,” he said.
“It’s clear that in the next budget, the government is going to be slashing its expenses. I hope that whatever money is allocated will be used to incentivise the most vulnerable.”
Times of Malta reported last month how ministries have been ordered to save €200 million by the end of the year by cutting down on their administration costs. A €1.1 million budget cut for the University of Malta was also announced recently.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said earlier this month that this year’s COLA adjustment is likely to approach €10 per week due to inflation.
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