With another budget now behind us, we look at the measures which will affect the people most – breaking down Finance Minister Edward Scicluna’s two-hour speech into bite-size chunks.
It was the ninth budget of the Labour government, and it may well be Scicluna’s last, with newly-sworn in MP Clyde Caruana being touted as his replacement.
The budget was split across six main sectors: social measures, the economy, the environment, law and order, education and health, and infrastructure.
The main measures on a person-basis announced are:
– Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is €1.75c per week
– For pensioners, a pension increase will see the total adjustment be of €5 per week
– An additional day of vacation leave
– Fourth round of tax refunds, now increased to a maximum of €95, will be distributed
– Another round of COVID-19 vouchers – €60 for accommodation and restaurants, and €40 for retail and services – will be issued
– An increase in Children’s Allowance of up to €70.
– An increase in adoption and fostering allowances, with a new €1,000 grant for local adoptions
– Further incentives for private pension schemes, with a tax exemption now up to €3,000.
– An increase in the Supplementary Assistance allowance
– At-risk-of poverty grant extended
– Increase in Carer’s Allowance to €6,000, scheme extended to people caring for disabled persons
– €9 million allocated to address past injustices
– First Time Buyers scheme ceiling upped to €200,000
– Wage Supplement extended until March, with adjustments possible later this year or early next year.
– Quarantine leave to be extended
– Threshold of businesses exempt from VAT increased from €20,000 to €30,000.
– Government to give refund taxes paid on Pitkalija and Pixkerija sales
– More incentives on renewable energy
– Importation of single-use plastics to stop on 1 January 2021, sale to be banned in 2022
– Car scrappage scheme ceiling increased to €7,000
– €11 million investment in sports facilities and more investment in social housing
– More medicines to be added to government formulary
– A new blood bank to be built
– One year’s free internet for children who continue to study after 16 years of age
For a more detailed look at the measures announced, check out our live commentary from the Budget itself here, or hop onto www.independent.com.mt and find our summaries of each section of measures.