Minister for Finance and Employment, Clyde Caruana, delivered his Budget Speech in Parliament this evening, outlining Malta’s financial plan for next year.
Budget 2024 builds on the previous Budgets, with a focus on generating wealth and laying the foundation for a sustainable future economy, without imposing any new taxes.
Families, workers, and the middle class remain the Government’s top priority, as evidenced by Budget’s focus on raising living standards and improving financial well-being. In the context of the global economic challenges, the Budget charts a strategic course to spearhead growth on a sustainable foundation.
The central tenets of this Budget are to keep energy prices stable, raise the minimum wage and children’s allowance, boost pensions, and diversify the economy into emerging sectors.
Here are the key points from Minister Caruana’s Budget statement to MPs:
SUPPORT ON ENERGY AND FUEL
- A further €350 million will be allocated to absorb the difference caused in energy, fuels, cereals, and animal fodder prices as a result of worldwide price instability. This will ensure that consumer prices will remain stable.
- A €12.81 weekly COLA adjustment.
- 95,000 households will benefit from an enhanced Additional COLA mechanism, through which they will receive a further €100-€1,500 per year.
- €26 million in assistance cheques to be distributed to 250,000 workers.
- Schemes lowering tax on part-time work and overtime to be extended.
- 23,000 households will benefit from an enhanced in-work benefit.
- Employees who work non-standard hours will be eligible for an extra €150 cheque.
- National minimum wage to increase by €1,082.12 next year, with further increases planned over the next four years.
- An annual increase of €780 in old-age pensions. This is the biggest increase ever allocated to pensoners in a single year.
- Around 10,000 pensioners born before 1962 will also receive a further increase of €4 a week, to make up for a past anomaly.
- 7,000 pensioners who are widows/widowers will receive an additional increase in their pension.
- 6,000 ex-servicemen will benefit from a better pension.
- 17,000 pensioners in employment will see a decrease in their tax burden through an investment of €27 million.
- 62,000 children will benefit from an annual increase of €250 in children’s allowance via an investment of €15.5 million.
- 3,300 families to benefit from increased birth and adoption bonuses, with first-born or adopted children to receive €500 and subsequent children to receive €1,000.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITY
- €5.2 million to be invested for personal assistants of persons with disability and their families.
- The tax crediot for children with disability undergoing therapy will increase from €200 to €500 annually per child.
- The Carer ar Home Scheme will see an annual increase from €7,000 to €8,000.
- Projects will be undertaken on the retirement homes in Cospicua, Msida, and Għajsnielem.
- A new multidicipliary clinic to be opened at the Floriana retirement home.
- A further annual increase of €487 in the Carer’s Grant.
- €40 million in cash grants for SMEs
- Strengtening of several schemes aimed at supporting enterprises.
- Further investment in road and maritime infrasrtructure.
- €90 million investment for the strenthening of electrical infrastructure
- 80,000 square metres of new green spaces.
- Grants incentivising the purchasing of electrical vehicles to be extended.
- Grant for the purchasing of ekick scooters.
- Schemes encouraging domestic renewable energy to be extended.
- A maxium tax credit of €500 on donations to voluntary organisations working in the social, environmental, or animal welfare fields.
JUSTICE, LAW AND ORDER
- Further investment in the Law Courts and in law enforcement.
- Two new centres to step up the fight against domestic and gender-based violence.
- Investment in panic alarms for domestic violence victims.
- A decrease in income tax for sports employees.
- Investment in new capital projects in the sports sector.
- The maximum benefit related to social housing will rise from €3,600 to €4,200 for single persons, from €4,800 to €5,400 for families with one child, and from €5,000 to €6,000 for families with two or more children.
- Tax exemtion schemes for first-time buyers and second-time buyers to be extended.
- Grant for first-time buyers who acquire a property in Gozo to rise from €30,000 to €40,000 i the property is either in a UCA or has been vacant for a long time.
- Grants for the restoration of facades and properties of certain value.
- A special allowance of €500 over three years for those who continue studying after 16 years of age.
- More schools to be built.
- Renovation of several school
- Students’ stipends to increase by €64 annually.
- Students’ scholarship and tax credits programme to be further strengthened.
- Further investment in Mater Dei, St Luke’s, Karin Grech, Mount Carmel, and Gozo hospitals.
- Modernisation of Health centres and the opening of new clinics.
- More medicines to be included on the Government formulary.
- Persons with mental health challenges will qualify for an invalidity pension provided that thet have paid at least 50 social security contributions.
- The social security contribution credit scheme for person with mental health challenges will be continued.
- A national strategy for animal protection and wellbeing.
- A national strategy for research and innovation.
Further information is available at: https://maltabudget24.com