Robert Abela has promised a €700 million investment over seven years to create green spaces in urban places if the Labour Party is elected to government.

Abela was addressing the media hours after announcing the country will be heading to the polls on March 26.

He launched the party’s first five electoral proposals of an “ambitious plan”, details about which will be revealed in the coming days.

The first proposal would see a PL government pumping €700 million over seven years in “green lungs” for urban spaces that would ensure residents would not need to drive their car to spend time in an open public space, he said.

This would see the creation of “a network of gardens and open spaces”, including parks, urban green reclamation projects, urban greening initiatives, underground parking were possible, green areas spread out over car tunnels and car-free areas in different localities at the end of the week.

While infrastructural plans promised ahead of the last election will continue, a new PL administration would prioritise this greening investment, Abela said.

The Prime Minister also promised a reduction in taxes.

A new PL government would widen tax bands that would see workers and self-employed take home at least an extra €255 every year, up to a maximum of €365.

Moreover, parents will not pay tax on the first €12,200 each year, Abela said.

This initiative, he said, would translate into a further €66 million in people’s pockets every year.

A PL government would also keep up its tax refund initiative for those with low or middle income, translating into a further €24 million a year, he said.

The third proposal would see a drop from 35% to 25% in the corporate tax rate for the first €250,000.

Businesses, Abela said, were “the lungs of our economy” and the government had over recent months saved 100,000 jobs while registering the lowest unemployment rate in Malta’s history.

He also promised pensioners they would get an extra €15 a week, or €2,340 during one legislature.

This incentive would translate into a total spend of €240 million.

All pensioners will also be automatically entitled to get all medicines on government formulary for free – a €40million spend every year.

And for first-time buyers who need to take out a loan to buy property, the government will be forking out €10,000 over 10 years.

This incentive, he said, would be backdated to contracts signed on January 1 this year.

Asked whether this incentive could drive up property prices, Abela said if this was the case, prices would have gone up when similar measures were introduced in the past.

He said the five initiatives would cost €1.39 billion over five years and would be financed through money generated by the creation of new jobs and the strengthening of the economy.

Fielding questions from journalists he also urged for responsibility during political events, adding that those who turned up at PL’s event on Sunday had to pre-book their seats beforehand.

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