Budget 2021: What affects you most

Miguela Xuereb

As Finance Minister Edward Scicluna unveiled the 9th budget of the Labour government, Newsbook.com.mt lists some of the measures which will mostly affect people’s lives.

The 2021 budget announced on Monday does not include new taxes taxes.  For Minister Scicluna this will give a certain stability and attractiveness to the business sector and investors who will not have to be concerned about an increase in taxes.

These are some of the main measures announced by Minister Scicluna during his annual two and half hour marathon:

Social measures

  • A weekly increase of €1.75 as part of the COLA mechanism
  • Another leave day for workers for public holidays which fall within the weekend
  • People over 16 years will receive €100 worth of vouchers divided into vouchers of €15 or €10
  • Increases in Children’s Allowance – Families whose annual income is less than €25,318 will receive an added €70 annually for each child. Families with a higher annual income will receive an increase of  €50 annually per child.
  • Families fostering children will benefit from a €10 a week increase in allowance
  • A new benefit of up to €1,000 will be given to those couples who adopt locally
  • In-work benefit thresholds will be extended. It is being estimated, that 4,500 families will benefit from this increase.
  • The Wage supplement will now also cover artists
  • Pensioners will receive an increase of €5 a week – 93,000 persons will benefit
  • The supplementary assistance given to families and elderly will increase between €70 and €108 annually. Around 29,000 people will benefit
  • Persons of pensionable age who however do not qualify for a pension will have their bonus increased by €50 annually.
  • Increased benefit to employ a carer – €6,000 annually. The criteria for eligibility will be widened and will also include people with disability
  • Parents with children with disability who are over 16 years old and had to stop working to take care of their children will receive €300 annually.
  • Persons of 70 years of age or over will be given for free a Tallinja card

Economic measures

  • Wage supplement will continue until March 2021
  • Assistance to new startups, helping e-commerce, helping companies that employ under 50 persons
  • VAT exemption to rise from €20,000 to €30,000
  • Strengthening of the maritime registry aiming at the superyachts market
  • Air Malta submitted a request for state aid, and this is awaiting EU Commission approval
  • Tourism in a new context and assisting the industry to become carbon neutral
  • Increase connectivity between Gozo and Malta
  • Investment in the digital sector in the tourism industry
  • Start of a study of a mass transportation system

Green Economy

  • A low carbon development strategy to reach internationally agreed targets
  • Green bonds to finance a green economy
  • Continue work on Waste-to-energy plant to generate electricity from waste recycling.
  • To stop importation on single plastic use, by the end of 2022 sales will stop.
  • Car scrappage scheme extended to highest €7,000

Infrastructual measures

  • Regeneration of abandoned property in partnership with the private sector
  • Stamp Duty for first-time buyers will be exempt for the first €200,000
  • Reduction to 3.5% stamp duty on the purchase of family home even if not a first-time buyer and even if inherited
  • €95 million for an increase in roadworks
  • Continuation of regeneration of ports
  • New and renewed industrial estates over 7-8 years with an outlay of €450 million
  • Investment in sport facilities
  • Investment in social housing

Education and health

  • €20 million spent to upgrade schools in line with health guidelines – Discussions underway with the church and independent schools to see if they will be assisted
  • The government list of medicines distributed free of charge will now include new medicines especially medicine used in cancer treatment
  • NGOs which have an income below a certain threshold will be exempted from tax
  • Students continuing to study after 16 years of age will be given a year of free internet

Measures for good governance

  • Addressing the Moneyval report and the Venice Commission recommendations
  • Investment in law enforcement agencies such as the Malta Police Force
  • Individual Investors Programme (Selling of passports scheme) reforms
  • The return of the migrants whose request for asylum has been denied – EASO and the Immigration Section of the Malta Police Force will work on the return of these migrants