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This paper analyses the development of social policies in Malta, with a particular focus on events which have impacted on the country’s growth and subsequently on its social security system and policies involving housing, health, education migration and employment. In recent decades, with costs to sustain an ever-growing web of social services becoming more demanding, governments have tried to encourage more self-help and to lessen the heavy dependence on aid structures within the system, pushed at times by recommendations from regional and international institutions. The smaller the economy the more open it is likely to be. Consequently, it is impacted relatively stronger by external events. A heavy reliance on trade, migration and foreign direct investment necessitates balancing the interplay between external and internal activities. These horizontal interdependencies together with the decolonisation process impacted on Malta’s development of social policies and its social security system. Vertical interdependencies had a lesser impact on social policy in the early stages but have in recent years influenced its gradual transformation from a welfare state to a welfare society. The analysis shows that Malta’s social policies aided its economic development strategy in that different social policies sought to provide an equitable society. However, strains and long-term deficits in public finances later showed up the cracks in the structures, which became overused, abused and too wide encompassing. Malta faces challenges which may impact the sustainability of some policies, such as health, while instigating further government intervention in others, such as social housing. A more holistic perspective of all social policies is called for.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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