Across Europe, families are facing terrible financial burdens. A case in point being the situation in the United Kingdom where families will be impacted by an increase of nearly €850 in their energy bills.
In contrast, Maltese families have not only been shielded from this onslaught, but will even benefit from the largest stimulus ever given by a Maltese Government.
Over the coming weeks, whilst in the rest of Europe families will be receiving shockingly high energy bills through the post, in our country they will receive not only a higher tax refund cheque as announced in the budget, but also an additional cheque. This means an overall investment in households’ welfare of €70 million.
In Marsaxlokk, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that tax refund cheques will be issued much earlier this year compared to what happened last year. This in itself is a very welcome development as the generosity of these cheques is much higher than those given in previous years.
Maltese families will benefit from the largest stimulus ever given by a Maltese Government.
In fact, the announced tax refund cheques are twice what was given in the Budget before Robert Abela became Prime Minister. The tax refund cheques imply an investment of €25 million that will go directly into the pockets of workers. This scheme will mean a cheque to all workers of between €60 and €140.
The Prime Minister also announced a new support scheme whereby, as with the voucher scheme, €45 million will be injected into the country’s economy. This is an additional cheque which extends the stimulus from just affecting those in employment, to also reaching students, pensioners, and those on social benefits. This economic stimulus scheme will mean a cheque of between €100 and €200 to all these categories.
This new investment in the purchasing power of households is taking place because Government’s finances are in a much better position than predicted in the budget speech.
The Minister for Finance has revealed that instead of 11.1% of GDP, the fiscal deficit will be 8.1% of GDP. This was mainly because our country’s economy was protected from the impact of rising prices of fuel and electricity. This meant that households could continue increasing their consumption while businesses could continue to expand their operations and invest.
The Prime Minister also revealed that had it not been for government intervention to keep prices in Malta stable, an average family would have ended up spending around €500 more on petrol and diesel and electricity bills. Instead of being burdened with these costs, as had happened under previous Conservative administrations, families this time were given unprecedented support, with most families set to receive hundreds of euros in their pockets.