The Nationalist Party issued its electoral programme in draft form on its website on Thursday evening, as it was being discussed by the party's general council.
The document was introduced by Claudio Grech, who was responsible for its drafting. Approval of the programme is expected later on Thursday.
The programme features 540 proposals, including a national pilot project for the introduction of a four-day working week, a one-off grant of €1,000 for parents having a child as from January 1, 2017, and a commitment to add 50,000 square metres of land to ODZ zoning every year.
Times of Malta takes a look at some of the key proposals.
- An additional mechanism to measure the country’s growth and wellbeing, aside from GDP.
- Rewarding good behaviour by business through an Environmental, Social and Governance metric.
- A new “social pact” leading to the introduction of a living income and a living wage.
- Incentives for businesses that agree to take part in a national four-day week pilot project.
- A €1 billion fund to create new economic sectors.
- A special ambassador appointed by the Prime Minister tasked with improving Malta’s reputation abroad.
- A €40 million to support industry.
- VAT for restaurants and bars will be reduced to 7%.
- Benefits and training for people who end up unemployed.
- Financial benefits, social security credits for workers and self-employed people who spend long periods out of work due to illness.
- New digital systems and harsh penalties for those guilty of benefits fraud.
- A 50% tax credit for hotels to carry out refurbishment works/improvements to their facilities.
Revision of Income Tax
- People earning less than €20,000 will get a tax credit amounting to 10% of tax paid during the previous year. For those earning between €20,000 and €40,000, the tax credit will be 5%. For income between €40,000 and €60,000 the tax credit will be 3%. Tax rates for people earning between €60,000 and €80,000 will be reduced to 25%.
- A more “competitive and just” taxation regime for businesses in conformity with certain environmental, social and governance criteria will be introduced.
- VAT, tax and social security arrears accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic will be repayable over eight years.
- There will be a tax rate of 15% for businesses that reinvest the first €500,000 of their profits back into the company.
- Over five years, the corporate tax rate will be reduced from 35% to 25%.
- A new pension fund, set up in tandem with businesses, to ensure long-term sustainability of the pension system.
- Bonuses for pensioners who work beyond retirement age.
- The minimum pension will be equal to the minimum wage.
- A one-off grant of €1,000 for parents giving birth to a child. The grant will be retroactive for all parents who have had a child since January 2017.
- An increase of €150 in the children’s allowance, or €250 for families with an income lower than €12,000.
- A €1,000 increase in the allowance for disabled children.
- A €1,500 increase in the foster carer allowance.
- A maximum government loan of €20,000 for people who cannot afford to pay a 10% deposit on a new home.
- The first-time buyer scheme will be permanently introduced, rather than renewed annually. The stamp duty exemption will apply for property purchases up to €400,000.
- Old people selling their house to go live in an elderly home will also qualify for stamp duty exemptions.
- Youths buying their first property will have a 50% government subsidy on interest rates payable on loans up to €250,000, for the first five years of the loan.
- Other buyers will qualify for tax rebates on their interest payments for the first five years, up to a maximum loan of €350,000.
- People who have divorced or separated and re-enter the market will be considered as first-time buyers.
- Beneficial tax rates for landlords who rent out their property in the lower end of the rental market.
- A more transparent mechanism for any measures introduced in response to a pandemic.
- Termination of the Steward Healthcare hospitals deal.
- Healthcare workers who left public service to join Steward will be given the chance to take up government employment again.
- Tax rebates covering all costs incurred by healthcare workers to continue their professional development.
- Tax rebates for people who take health insurance cover.
- More free medicines.
- €180 monthly support for celiacs.
- Mount Carmel Hospital will be closed and replaced by a new mental healthcare facility, near Mater Dei.
- IVF will be provided for free.
- Tax credits for employers who allocate up to two hours per week for their employees to train/undergo fitness programmes.
- A €500 grant to nurseries/sports school for every single child enrolled in their programmes.
- A 5% tax rate for sportspersons on earnings up to €80,000.
- Ensure Malta is within 80% of its carbon neutrality target by 2030.
- Tax incentives for environmentally-friendly businesses.
- Full autonomy for environmental regulatory bodies.
- Increasing the number of votes environmental NGO get on decision-making boards when it comes to the environment, transport, infrastructure and planning.
- A clear position against “excessive” development.
- A two-thirds majority needed for development on ODZ land.
- 50,000 square metres of land will be added annually to ODZ zoning.
- Creation of more open spaces, green belts and ecoparks.
- An afforestation programme to ensure every community has green open spaces.
- Refund people who have been overbilled by ARMS since 2013.
- Energy to be bought from the cheapest source with the lowest emissions.
- Work towards terminating the Electrogas agreements. The gains from terminating these agreements will be passed on to consumers through lower energy bills.
- Investment in the electricity distribution network.
- Build a second interconnector.
- Measures to incentivise PV panels.
- A €10,000 grant over five years for families who get rid of a car and do not buy another vehicle during the five-year period.
- A network of rapid charging stations for electric cars.
- A trackless tram that will pass through arterial roads and feeders roads via “reserved” lanes.
- Better public transport connections between residential areas, business zones, ports and other important centres.
- A network of roads will be built underground to address traffic congestion and allow for more open spaces and cycling areas above ground.
- Improve national capacity to counter cyber attacks on government and private entities.
- A framework to protect key national assets.
- Governance mechanisms to ensure political interference does not take place in the leadership and operations of law enforcement and security.
- Bolster efforts to fight drug trafficking.
- Improve working conditions for army, police and correctional officers.
- Full implementation of recommendations by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry, including the introduction of unexplained wealth orders.
- More judges, magistrates to reduce the waiting time for court sentences.
- A new parliamentary committee for justice.
- Invest in a new court building.
- Free childcare services for anyone needing to attend court.
- Live-streaming of constitutional court sittings as a first step towards increasing accessibility to court hearings.
- Harsher penalties against domestic violence.
- Introduce laws and mechanisms to give the Opposition of the day more of a say in decisions taken outside parliament’s ambit.
- Introduce the possibility of electronic voting in European Parliament, local council elections.
- Power will once again be devolved to local councils.
- “Freezing” of minor contraventions that do not impact third parties (Like minor parking contraventions). If further contraventions take place during this period, the penalties due will increase and could result in penalty points.
- “Radical” form of the education funding model. Funding will be tied to economic growth.
- Making education more accessible.
- Improve working conditions for teachers.
- Extra-curricular activities to be made tax-deductible.
- A masterplan plan for the cultural sector will be drawn up.
- A 5% tax rate on earnings up to €80,000 for professionals working in the arts sector.
- Grants for youths promoting Malta’s cultural heritage.
- Incentives for the film industry.
- Strengthen Malta’s credentials as a country willing to accept and welcome different cultures.
- Community ambassadors to serve as a point of contact with different communities and cultures.
- Improve integration measures.
- A final decision about the Malta-Gozo tunnel after all the studies have been completed and published.
- Until a final decision on the tunnel has been taken, efforts will be made to improve connectivity between the two islands.
- A new 400-bed hospital will be built in Gozo.
- Reform MPs code of ethics to improve standards.
- Ban the use of private e-mail servers for government work.
- More extensive financial declarations by cabinet members.
- Weekly PMQs.
- Ministers to keep a register of all meetings with lobbyists.
- Strengthen the Ombudsman’s role.
- Appoint an expert taskforce to bolster the FIAU’s and FCID’s functions.