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S&P ‘concerned about Labour’s phantom proposal’ for gas, Gonzi claims Lawrence Gonzi has told voters that credit rating agency Standard & Poor's had praised the government's effort to secure Enemalta's financial position, but were worried about the future of the state energy company "after hearing Labour's phantom proposal", which he said has been discredited by all experts. In an attempt at driving home the view that Malta's downgrade by S&P to BBB+ was entirely down to the Opposition's vote against the 2013 budget, Gonzi today skirted issues of government debt and Enemalta losses pointed out by the credit rating agency, and instead claimed S&P were now "worried" over Labour plans for a new LNG power station and terminal, which Labour claims will cut the cost of energy generation drastically. Although a draft version of the S&P report does not contain any reference to the Labour proposal for an LNG power station, the prime minister yet again blamed Labour leader Joseph Muscat for a downgrade of the country's sovereign credit rating. Speaking in Hamrun during one of the PN's 'Int u l-Prim Ministru' events, Gonzi skirted issues such as government debt and losses at Enemalta which formed part of the rationale for the S&P downgrade of Malta's credit status to BBB+, and instead focused on the fact that his budget had not been approved. "When in America the two sides could not agree on a budget, S&P downgraded their credit rating. The same thing happened in Malta, because the 2013 budget failed to pass, and S&P published a report saying that Malta's credit rating must be downgraded as has happened in other countries. This is not what I think they said - this is what they wrote," Gonzi insisted. The S&P report makes reference to the fact that Malta's parliament was officially dissolved after Gonzi lost a confidence vote when the budget was not approved by a majority in the House, when the Opposition was joined by Nationalist MP Franco Debono in voting down the budget. "If the opposition had been reasonable and sincerely had our national interest at heart, Muscat would have followed the Italian example and voted for the budget," Gonzi said. As a sudden downpour pushed the crowds further in under the tent where Gonzi hosted his electorate, the prime minister kept insisting that Muscat should have approved the government's budget and then vote against other ministerial votes. No mention was made of other reasons in the S&P report such as the low level of female participation in the workforce, or the high indebtedness of the private sector. Gonzi instead boasted of having created 20,000 jobs thanks to his policy for sound finances and job-saving efforts inside Maltese factories, which allowed the government to weather the financial crisis - a factor noted by S&P when it gives credit to the resilience of Maltese political and economic institutions. But the prime minister could not fail to draw yet more comparisons between Muscat and predecessor Alfred Sant. "Don't repeat the same mistakes of the past. In 1996, Muscat was right next to Alfred Sant when the MLP replaced VAT with 33 taxes." During the discussion, hosted by Joseph Bonello, Alex Mangion, and Austin Sammut, Gonzi paid tribute to Hamrun-born veteran MP and former minister Antoine Mifsud Bonnici, whom he called "a model politician."