Social and other measures


Social Measures

Cost of living increase

  • The cost of living increase for 2019 amounts to €2.33 per week. Such increase will be granted to all employees, to pensioners and to those receiving social benefits. Students will also be granted such cost of living increase on a pro-rata basis.

 

Measures relating to employment

  • Employees will benefit from an additional day of leave bringing the total vacation leave entitlement to 26 days.

 

Pensions

  • Social security pensions will be increased by €2.17 per week. Thus, together with the cost of living increase, the total increase for pensioners will amount to €4.50 per week.
  • Similarly to previous years, the portion of the service pension not to be reduced from the retirement pension is being increased by a further €200. Service pensioners over the age of 72 years will also be entitled to a similar increased benefit.

  • The possibility to continue working beyond retirement age up to 65 years in order to increase pension entitlement (where applicable), is also being gradually extended to employees working in the public sector.

Measures relating to self-employment

  • Similarly to employed persons, self-employed persons who for certain reasons had to stop working will have a right to receive unemployment benefits in line with the social security contributions paid during their period of self-employment.

 

Gozo

  • A compensation of €1.50 per day will be granted to each Gozitan government employee organising shared transportation services from Cirkewwa to their place of work.

  • With effect from 1 January 2019, as part of the extension to the ‘Gozitan Works Subsidy’, a refund of the ferry ticket fare will be given to Gozitan employees employed with the private sector.

  • Aid to Gozitan tertiary education students renting out accommodation in Malta.

  • Extension of the scheme implemented last year whereby entrepreneurs offering a minimum of a 3 year full time contract of employment in Gozo to an employee will receive a 30% refund (up to a maximum of €6,000) calculated on the employee’s average wage.

     

Health

  • An increase of €5.14 per week in the non-contributory medical assistance granted to married couples where two adults of the family suffer from chronic illnesses.

 

Other social measures

  • Families with gross income of less than €20,000 will receive a maximum increase in children’s allowance of €96 per year per child.

  • €50m investment for the construction of almost 700 social housing units. Part of the investment is being funded from the National Development and Social Fund.

  • Revision of the Travel Reimbursement Scheme for patients undergoing cancer treatment at Mater Dei Hospital to include adults accompanying patients. This will also be extended to Maltese patients who will be undergoing treatment in Gozo. An additional accommodation allowance will be granted to patients travelling either to Malta or Gozo accordingly.
  • Introduction of benefits for members of the Disciplined Forces in the case of fatal incidents or permanent disabilities sustained during the carrying out of their duties.

  • A grant of €300 will continue to be paid to each person who is 75 years and over and still living in his/ her own household.

  • The bonus for persons who are not entitled to receive a pension will increase by €50 per annum.

  • Allocation of €11 million for the continuation of the fund created to cater for inequalities suffered by persons in the past due to changes in the pensions system.

  • Re-issue of Savings Bonds for pensioners who are over 62 years of age.

  • Eligibility for the Carers' Allowance will no longer be subject to means testing.

  • Payments made to persons with severe disability will increase by €10 per week, from €140 to €150 per week.

  • The allowance for parents with children suffering from a physical or mental disability will increase by €5 per week.

  • A white paper has been launched addressing issues related to property rental agreements, including obligatory registration of rental contracts.

  • A new scheme will be introduced to reduce the rental burdens for persons whose gross income does not exceed the established benchmark while their current rent exceeds the rental benchmarks applicable under such scheme. An aid of between €3,000 and €5,000 per year will be granted according to the circumstances of the particular family.

     

     


Other Measures

Property

  • An Equity Sharing scheme will be introduced in 2019 allowing persons aged 40 and over wishing to acquire a residence to obtain a bank loan to cover not more than 50% of the purchase price with any interest on such bank financing being paid by the Government.
  • Various measures will be introduced to increase, upgrade and maintain properties available for social housing purposes.
  • Discussions on the regulatory and fiscal framework around the introduction of Real Estate Investment Trusts are being finalised with a view to being implemented next year.
  • Individuals buying and restoring property within Urban Conservation Areas or any other property scheduled within the first or second grade will continue benefiting from a refund of certain expenses incurred in restoring such property.

 

Transport

  • Investment of €100 million to continue works aimed at upgrading the road network.
  • Improvement of public transport including enhancing the ferry transportation network and the possible development of additional parking areas equipped with modern technology.
  • The scheme entitling persons between 16 and 20 years to one year free public transport will be extended for another year and will also be granted to full time students aged 14 and over and to certain categories of persons with special needs.
  • The scheme providing incentives for investment in bicycle racks and eco-friendly vehicles will be extended by another year.
  • The exemption from any registration tax on eco-friendly vehicles (including electric and hybrid cars) will be extended by another year.
  • Scrappage schemes and grants in respect of vehicles converted from petrol to gas to be extended by another year.

 

Environment

  • Measures to improve waste management including the development of a new Material Recovery Facility, a Multi-Material Recovery Facility and Waste-to-Energy facility.
  • Various measures for the safeguard of the Maltese natural environment and the control of sound pollution. Initiative to plant a tree for every child born and every new car imported into Malta.
  • Measures to promote renewable energy, the use of efficient sources of energy and to assist families in reducing their water consumption.
  • Investments to improve the Reverse Osmosis plants in Malta and Gozo.
  • Refund of up to €70 on the purchase and installation of reverse osmosis and other household water purification systems aimed at reducing the use of plastic bottles.

 

Improving competitivity

  • New support measures to be offered by the Malta Development Bank to SMEs and infrastructural projects.
  • The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) is to support small businesses investing in fintech through the Fintech Accelerator programme. The MSE will also be entering into partnership with businesses operating in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.
  • A bill is to be published that will grant legal personality to certain aspects of blockchain and studies undertaken to establish a regulatory framework for disruptive technologies.
  • The Malta Communications Authority is to prepare a feasibility study on the application of 5G technology.
  • Establishment of Tech.mt, being a foundation to be used to promote Malta as a jurisdiction in the area of technology.
  • Increased efforts in attracting eSports operators to Malta.
  • The Malta Medicines Authority will continue to develop the regulatory framework for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
  • In the light of Brexit, Malta Enterprise shall be issuing support measures to support SMEs seeking business advisory services that are dependant for their business on the UK.
  • It is anticipated that a Free Zones Act will be enacted to facilitate investment in the area of international logistics.
  • Introduction of the start-up visa concept that will facilitate the process for attracting foreign start-ups to establish themselves in Malta. Moreover, an accelerator programme will be developed in partnership with an international entity through the creation of co-working space.
  • Work shall continue on updating the national policies on aviation which will include a master plan for the airport and its environs and the construction of an Air Traffic Control Centre.

Culture and tourism

  • Upgrading of tourism areas including the promenades of Gzira and Msida and expansion of various beaches around Malta.
  • Creation of a new agency ‘Agenzija Kulturali tal-Belt Valletta’ to be responsible for the promotion and continuous development of Valletta following Valletta 2018.



Health

  • Continued investment in more medicines and treatments for cancer patients including the introduction of a new committee with the purpose of vetting requests for medicine and treatments in the case of complex and rare illnesses.
  • Investment in a mental health clinic in the north of Malta and the opening of day centres and hostels to host patients with minor mental conditions for social wellbeing.
  • The introduction of a specialised clinic in the primary school of Marsa providing sensory interaction therapy for children with difficulties in integrating in the scholastic curriculum.
  • The commencement of works for the expansion of the outpatients services at Mater Dei which would also include an increase to the car park to offer approx 500 additional spaces.
  • Investment in Robotic Surgery and blood donation equipment.
  • A new strategic plan between 2020 - 2030 in order to address areas of research, mental health and genetics which have been neglected in the past years.
  • Introducing a plan against human trafficking and drug abuse through various educational campaigns which may include incentives in the case of drug abuse and for the prevention of domestic violence.

 

Measures relating to education and sport

  • Government to waive all fees on SEC and MATSEC exams.

  • Gradual removal of mid year exams and introducing a system of continuous assessment.

  • The introduction, including training to teachers, of an educational campaign on nutrition and healthy eating.

  • Development of a national strategy for sports and various plans for upgrading sports facilities around Malta.

 


Measures relating to Gozo

  • Continuous works on various projects in Gozo.

  • The introduction of a Park and Ride system in Mgarr Gozo, not only to reduce the parking problem but also to reduce emissions and thus improve the air quality.

  • Implementation of master plans in Xlendi and Marsalforn.

  • New project for an aquatic centre in Gozo.

  • Geological studies have been carried out with respect to the permanent link between Malta and Gozo which were recently presented during a seminar and which will be the basis for the design of the tunnel.

 

Citizenship

  • The updating of the Malta Individual Investor Programme and the Malta Residency and Visa Programme in order to remain competitive on the market.

 

 

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