Minister Edward Scicluna said that besides a weekly increase of €1.75 as part of the COLA mechanism and another leave day for workers for public holidays, this year’s budget provides for the expenditure of €50 million in vouchers. This was announced in the annual budget speech which is being presented in parliament Monday evening.
Increases in Children’s Allowance
Families whose annual income is less than €25,318 will receive and added €70 annually for each child. Families with a higher annual income will receive an increase of €50 annually per child.
Vouchers for less expensive items
Minister Scicluna said that this time around, the proportion how the vouchers may be used between restaurants and other outlets will be different. While the previous edition of vouchers had a ratio of 80:20 now the ratio will be 60:40. Besides the vouchers will be either €15 or €10, making it possible to use them even for less expensive things.
Adoption and fostering
Minister Scicluna announced that families fostering children will benefit from a €10 a week increase in the allowance they receive. A new benefit of €1,000 will be given to those couples who adopt locally while students continuing to study after 16 years of age will be given a year of free internet.
Children’s allowance will also increase. Minister Scicluna said that for those falling below the €25,318 threshold, there will be a supplement of €70 per child annually and where the family income exceeds that threshold the supplement will be €50 per child par annum.
In the mini-budget announced earlier this year there was the introduction of an in-work benefit which the minister said will now increase as the thresholds will be extended. For example, a single person will get the benefit even if the income is €23,000 instead of the former income of €18,000. Where both persons work the income enabling one to receive the benefit has been increased from €25,000 to €30,000. It is estimated, said Minister Scicluna, that 4,500 families will benefit from this increase. The Wage supplement will now also cover artists. Tax refunds are also set to increase. Minister Scicluna said that the refund for the highest category will reach €95.