Gozitan social fabric ‘completely transformed’

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Gozo’s social fabric has been completely transformed in just a few years through an exodus of young Gozitans and an influx of people seeking lower rents, according to MP Chris Said.

Speaking during debate on the Budget Measures Implementation Bill, the Nationalist MP argued that Gozitan society was at a crossroads.

“We face a situation where young Gozitans are leaving Gozo, buying their first home in Malta and raising their family in Malta. And since rents in Gozo are lower, a number of people who can’t keep up with the cost of living are relocating to Gozo,” Said maintained. “In two to three years, Gozitan society has completely changed.”

He insisted that the government appeared to be completely blind to this, as it was doing nothing to address the situation.

Said argued that the reason for the exodus of young Gozitans was obvious: the difference in salaries. He noted that while the difference between median salaries in Malta and Gozo stood at around €300 in 2013, the gap has now increased to €3,300.

Gozitans seeking to remain in Gozo, he said, had to content themselves with schemes such as the Community Work Scheme or with low-paying work with government contractors.

The MP questioned the lack of progress on the setting up of a parliamentary committee dealing with Gozo affairs – which featured in Labour’s 2017 electoral manifesto – stating that this was sorely needed given the changes affecting the island.