An important theme for the GRTU is the Locality. What we refer to by Locality is the Local Council area together with adjacent localities. We are the only national organization that has a strong presence in all of the localities in Malta and Gozo and this is why we the give utmost importance to economic activities in the localities.
GRTU has excellent relationship with the association of Local Councils and with individual Local Councils. Together we do our utmost to facilitate better traffic management, project building and action that enhances the viability of private services in the Community.
GRTU notes that Government policies continue to emphasise the zones traditionally associated with enterprise and employment where factories, hotels, Government establishments and the larger private establishment are situated (Harbour area ect...) while very little emphasis is given to promote work and enterprise in the Localities. GRTU believes that given the multiplicity of problems caused by excessive road transport and the over utilization of Localities like Valletta and the whole Harbour area, Government should, as from 2009, launch attractive incentives so that more work and enterprise is generated in the Localities.
GRTU specifically wants to see an extension of tourism to reach also the Localities. GRTU believes that today's economic, environmental and social needs require a strategy of good incentives, that strengthen enterprises in localities and that create more working opportunities by means of, among others, teleworking. It makes no sense to bring back office work to Malta from New Zealand, Australia and America when we fail to move back office work from Sliema, Valletta, Marsa and Bulebel to other smaller Localities.
We need the Government to create incentives so that work in Localities is strengthened, spending is done in one's own locality and the locality attracts tourist and other activity, which makes the locality more sustainable. This will strengthened employment and relieve environmental problems and facilitate the employment of women. Women, women with children especially, most times can dedicate only a reduced working day to salary earning work. The closer the job is to the household the lesser time is spent in travel and also the lesser the costs.
GRTU proposals are as follows:
Reduction of 12% final withholding tax to property development geared towards use as office space or facilities suitable for back office work in the Localities, including call centers. This incentive will create new work opportunities in the Locality while also saving the expense of day centers as women will be able to place children under the care of other family members in the Locality.
Families that accept to house children in the family will be trained and offered attractive financial incentives as childcare within the family has proved to be more rewarding than in standard child care centres.
Tax credit of up to 50% of expenses to households for improvements that will enable the lodging of tourists where the size of the premises make this possible. The standards will be set by the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Standards Authority. This incentive will encourage the extension of tourist residence in the Localities thus providing the necessary impetus for the expansion of city core activities.
Up to 50% tax credit for the renovation and extension of facilities in the city core such as bars, restaurants and cafeterias to create a leisure focal centre. Local Councils will be provided with additional capital funds to provide the necessary facilities in the city centers for the outdoor extension of these enterprises.
The adoption of the same tax regime successfully implemented with families hosting English language students to household owners who offer lodging facilities to tourists.
Additional capital grants to Local Councils to encourage the promotion of private parking facilities to service clients utilizing the new or the extended enterprises in the city core.
Special allocation of funds coupled with adequate fiscal incentives to promote urban renewal and refurbishment in the traditional village and town core.
Tax relief on expenditure affected by property owners in the traditional urban centers used on the renovation and restoration of facades.
Special tax relief and capital grants for the initiation of local taxi/transport services.
Special financial awards to be given to local councils that support enterprises and economic growth. Local Authority Business Growth Incentive (LABGI)
Up to 50% tax credit on all initial expenses suffered by businesses that opt to transfer back office work to the Localities. The supportive scheme will also include special electricity and water rates for firms who's back office work functions from the Localities.
Special tax credit should be provided to business establishment that introduce special crime prevention facilities on a joint cooperative basis such as street cameras and monitoring of commercial and city centers as well as for the organization of neighborhood watch. Similar schemes will not only act as crime prevention mechanisms but will reduce the public cost for the provision of crime prevention and policing.