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MALTATODAY 21 August 2022

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Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt 2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 21 AUGUST 2022 NEWS LUKE VELLA PRIME Minister Robert Ab- ela said that the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for next year's budget will be "substan- tially" more than in previous years and that the same mecha- nism will remain in place. Interviewed on One Radio on Saturday morning, Abela – who was phoning in from his summer holiday – said that the 2023 budget will be based on "the principles of responsibility and sustainability." The Prime Minister said it was essential for the government to intervene and help those on the lower end of the econom- ic spectrum. "The chances are that without a social safety net, those that were held back the most will take much longer to recover," Abela said. He thanked social partners for their recommendations for the next budget, saying that they showed great maturity and re- sponsibility, and acknowledged the current international chal- lenges. Abela insisted though that the COLA mechanism, as agreed with the social partners, will not be modified. And the amount for 2023 will be substantially more than in previous years, he said. The COLA for the previous two years was of €1.75. In its pre-budget document, the Malta Chamber of Com- merce, Enterprise and Indus- try proposed that employees who receive a pay rise in 2022, should not receive the full CO- LA increment, but only the dif- ference between the COLA in- crement and their pay rise. And for those recruited dur- ing the year, the COLA entitle- ment should be capped at the equivalent portion of the year for which they have been in employment, the chamber said. Abela on Air Malta Abela said that as promised in the electoral manifesto, Malta will still have its national air- line. He acknowledged that Air Malta was facing a number of challenges, mentioning the ex- ponential rise in fuel prices and the pandemic restrictions as contributors to those challeng- es. Abela said that decisions tak- en by the management of the airline over the decades were not in the best interest of the airline. "Purchases made by Air Malta prior to 2013 were not in the best interest of the compa- ny." He said that his government will be safeguarding the liveli- hood of former and current Air Malta employees and that they will not pay the price for the structural reforms being imple- mented. On 14 January, government announced it would create a voluntary employee transfer scheme in a bid to cut Air Mal- ta's workforce by half and save €15 million per year in wages as part of a restructuring exercise. MaltaToday had revealed how a mid-August deadline for the transfer scheme to be complet- ed has been moved to the end of December, because airline bosses fear the exodus would hamper day-to-day operations. PM: COLA to be 'substantially' more than in previous years ADPD: Labour abandons pledge to protect vulnerable from inflation LUKE VELLA ADPD – The Green Party has accused the finance minister of forgetting his pledge to pro- tect the vulnerable from the cost-of-living impacts. ADPD Chairperson Car- mel Cacopardo said that 12 months ago Clyde Caruana had announced that a special mechanism would be intro- duced to protect low-income earners from the impacts of inflation. Cacopardo said that whilst the government was prepar- ing next year's budget, it had forgotten to take the necessary measures to protect the lowest earners from the cost-of-living impact. "Government and the Fi- nance Minister speak about 'studies' that never lead to any action," Cacopardo said. "We insist again on the ur- gent need for the basket of goods and services upon which the national minimum wage is based to be revised so that this truly offers decent living to workers and pensioners." He said that studies by Cari- tas, including a recent one in 2020, showed that an annual income of around €14,000 was required to purchase the basic needs for a family to live de- cently. ADPD is proposing that the basket of goods and services, upon which the national wage is based, be revised. The party also proposed that the cost-of- living adjustment (COLA) be paid biannually, on 1 January and on 1 July, in order to mini- mise the impact of inflation on vulnerable citizens. "The lack of just distribution of wealth remains, and Gov- ernment is failing to imple- ment the necessary measures for this fair distribution to take place," Cacopardo said.

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