Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said 'no' on Monday when asked whether the 2020 Budget is his last as prime minister.

Dr Muscat fielded questions at the Auberge de Castille after Finance Minister Edward Scicluna delivered his three-and-a-half hour speech in Parliament.

“If you think this year we were generous because it was the last Budget, wait till you see next year," Dr Muscat said to applause.

 

In an overview of Budget 2020, Dr Muscat said this was based on three pillars; rewarding hard-working taxpayers, social justice, and sustainability.  

Asked by Times of Malta whether the Budget was geared towards managing economic growth rather than accelerating it, Dr Muscat said the government was still priming the economy by rolling over previous measures. 

The approach was not ‘steady as she goes’, he said, but the government was also being prudent especially in the face of challenges such as Brexit.  

Dr Muscat said the Budget is part of a comprehensive plan for the country which was presented ahead of the 2017 election and backed overwhelmingly.

Every year since then, the government had prepared a Budget which was an implementation for those 2017 pledges. 

Dr Muscat said next year the economy will have doubled from what it was seven years ago, when Labour was first elected.

The Labour government had inherited a €7billion economy which would grow to €14billion next year. 

He thanked his team, for working together to deliver this change.

Dr Muscat was flanked by deputy prime minister Chris Fearne who thanked the prime minister for his leadership. 

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that as someone who had been there for every one of this Labour administration’s Budgets, he had seen the pledges made over the years, weaved into an economic and social policy. 

As for critics who mocked increases and allowances as being pittances, Prof. Scicluna said that just showed how out of touch some political commentators were.  

“The Opposition might say that some increases are only enough to buy a cappuccino, but that just shows how they have no idea about the reality facing Maltese families and the real difference a little can make to some,” he said. 

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