“When you see friends and people close to you who are just beginning life and who are working and should be thinking of the future, but instead are left crying or stressed out over an injustice like this, you can’t stay silent.”
A young Maltese man uttered these powerful words about the state of the property market a few months ago and, I must admit, they struck a chord with me. The housing situation is one of the most blatant examples of inequality happening today in Malta. While wages have remained static, property prices have gone through the roof and are now so expensive, it’s become practically impossible for a youth on an average wage to buy their own place without the assistance of a third party.
Joseph Muscat’s “economic miracle” is heavily discriminatory against newly-graduated students and youths. The future of our nation is dependent on this generation, and yet they are being completely excluded from the housing market. As leaders, we need to ensure the best conditions for this generation to step into the housing market and attain independence, financially and otherwise.
If elected this weekend, I will push forward a policy to incentivise the younger generation into investing in a home by providing financial assistance to first-time buyers
Let me explain.
The government can alleviate some some of the financial burdens caused by income tax to provide assistance to young adults seeking to purchase their first house. Concretely, this will be done by offering a deducted income tax rate on their main source of income for a period of up to 10 years upon purchasing property.
This is not a novel idea and has been tried and tested in other countries. In Malta, it will help balance the playing fields for youths who have been left behind in this great economy
If this year’s budget included a scheme for a joint equity purchase for over-40s, why not extend this to youths too? Over-40s already enjoy such benefits, and mechanisms in conjunction with banks already exist to effectuate this policy.
Yes, we must continue making Malta attractive to foreign investors, but not at the cost of making it unattractive to our own youths. We need to start working from now to empower young adults, grant them a higher degree of mobility and independence, which will in turn bestow on them a greater sense of confidence.
The Nationalist Party has never denied the positive aspects of this administration, but we have maintained that this is no licence to neglect the work that still needs to be done.
Nor is it a license to turn a blind eye to so many areas where this government has regressed.
Joseph Muscat is somewhat irresponsibly gearing Malta toward grossly unsustainable population growth in order to fuel his economic model. Anyone who has to drive to work in the never-ending lines of traffic undoubtedly feels that there isn’t enough room to swing a cat, let alone double the population.
And youths have suffered the brunt more than most.
Joseph Muscat says he “dreams” that the minimum wage would be enough to sustain a family, but it isn’t enough to dream, Prime Minister. Here, people’s lives hang in the balance – “dreaming” when you have the responsibility to decide is just detached from reality.
Malta still enjoys sovereignty over its tax affairs and we need to use them to the best of our advantage. No more digging our heads in the sand. Our youths are struggling and they expect us to think outside the box and come up with solutions. The future of our country could very well depend on this.