Social and other measures


Social Measures

Cost of living increase

  • The cost of living increase for 2020 amounts to €3.49 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

  • An additional day of leave to all employees’ annual leave balance.

Pensions

  • All social security pensions to be increased by €3.51 per week. Thus, together with the cost of living adjustment of €3.49, the weekly increase for pensioners should be of €7 (€364 per year).
  • Similarly to previous years, the portion of any service pension which is not to be reduced from the retirement pension is being increased by a further €200. 
  • Recalculation of certain service pensions once recipient reaches pension age.
  • Invalidity pension revised upwards to match the minimum national wage.

Other social measures

  • An additional bonus of €35 to households with more than one person; reduced to €15 for single person households.
  • Incentives to persons working in the public sector, who opted to keep on working past retirement/pension age. 
  • Persons not qualifying for a minimum pension shall continue benefiting from a bonus of between €200 and €300, even after 75 years of age.  
  • Increase in allowance granted to widowed pensioners having children under 18 years of age.  Such allowance shall be increased to €10 a week irrespective of whether the widowed pensioner is working or not.  
  • Allocation of €13 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.
  • Increase of €50 per annum in the supplementary allowance granted to persons of 65 years and over and who are at risk of poverty. 
  • Extension of the €300 grant scheme to all persons of 75 years and over in addition to a further €50 grant to persons over 80 years of age living in their house. This scheme will be extended to elderly persons living in private residential homes.
  • Re-issue of Savings Bonds for pensioners who are over 62 years of age.
  • Introduction of a €300 bonus for every new-born or adopted child.
  • Payments made to persons with severe disability will increase by €11.40 per week, from €150 to €161.40 per week.
  • Various initiatives to aid vulnerable people benefiting from non-contributory sickness benefits, uninterrupted sickness benefit and disability assistance amongst others.
  • Crediting of up to eight years of contributions granted to parents of children with rare diseases.
  • People suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) and those undergoing treatment at the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre will be entitled to enhanced sickness benefits.


Other Measures

Housing

  • The Government will be financing the 10% deposit (up to €17,500) interest free and repayable over a 15-year period to certain individuals under 40 years of age requiring assistance to acquire a residence.
  • Various measures will be introduced to increase, upgrade and maintain properties available for social housing purposes. 
  • The establishment of a new authority to regulate and monitor the construction industry.
  • An online system will be set up to facilitate registration of properties with the Land Registry.

Sustainability 

  • Further work towards achieving a carbon-neutral environment by 2050, among others, by continuing to use the EU Emission Trading Scheme in terms of the Effort Sharing system.
  • Measures to improve waste management including the development of a new plant to convert waste to energy and other measures that target different types of waste and additional studies on the quality of air and biodiversity.
  • Measures to introduce special electricity rates for individuals charging their electric car from their residence.
  • A new waste collection for beverage containers shall be introduced and will include the installation of reverse vending machines around Malta and Gozo.
  • Measures to remove single-use plastics by 1 January 2021 by prohibiting the importation and production of such plastics.
  • Further measures to regulate the construction industry including a cash incentive by Malta Enterprise for the acquisition of new eco-friendly machinery.
  • Measures to increase the usage of renewable energy sources, including solar panels, heat pumps and solar water heaters shall be reintroduced in 2020.
  • A new subsidy of 25% of the cost (capped at €1,000) shall be introduced in relation to purchase of rechargeable batteries for renewable energy.

Infrastructure

  • Investment of €100 million to continue works aimed at upgrading the road network (including various fly-overs and the Central Link Project) and other improvements to cycling lanes. 
  • Exemption from registration tax on eco-friendly vehicles (including electric and hybrid cars) will be extended by another year. Additional charging pillars will also be installed. 
  • Improvement of the public transport system including an increase in the number of buses, free school transport in Malta and Gozo, free use of the “Tal-Linja Card” for young people and elderly and extension of "on-demand buses”.
  • The scheme providing incentives for investment in bicycle racks and eco-friendly vehicles will be extended by another year. This includes the refund of VAT and other assistance. 
  • Scrappage schemes and grants in respect of vehicles converted from petrol to gas to be extended by another year.

Health

  • Continued investment in the infrastructure of Mater Dei Hospital, Mount Carmel Hospital and regional centres. 
  • Investment in robotic surgery and new medication.
  • Plan to open a new hospital for mental health.

Education

  • Continued investment in technology in educational institutions, including the University of Malta.
  • Following the One Tablet per Child Scheme, a pilot project will be launched to extend the use of technology to middle schools.
  • Extension of free transport to students attending state, independent and church schools at primary and secondary level.
  • A grant of a maximum of €850 per individual to study a foreign language abroad.
  • The ITS, together with the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management will start offering a Masters degree in Heritage Interpretation and a Bachelor degree in the field of diving.
  • Measures to continue narrowing the gap between the skills being taught by educational establishments and industry requirements.
  • Investment in the restoration of the National Library, in culture and national heritage.

Economic measures

  • The Malta Stock Exchange is to continue implementing initiatives to encourage the issuance of Green Bonds aimed at funding environmentally friendly projects.
  • Initiatives aimed at supporting the growth of video games development and esports industries through the strengthening of courses to equip individuals with the skills that are required to work in these industries.
  • Grants will be given to enterprises that employ persons with special needs. 
  • Extension of the current Malta Enterprise Schemes for the agriculture and fishing sectors, together with new incentives for such industries to be more innovative under the ‘Innovation Aid for SMEs’ scheme.
  • A new strategy for tourism aimed at attracting higher-end visitors to Malta and ensuring the sustainable growth of this industry in Malta. 
  • Increased investments aimed for more growth in the aviation industry, such as a master plan for more efficiency at the airport, the use of the latest technology by the Malta Air Traffic Services and increased economic activity in the drones sector (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems).   
  • Various initiatives for Gozo including allocation of funds for Gozo to be used as meetings and conferences destination, extension of support scheme for students and employees studying and working in Malta, acquisition of a fourth vessel by Gozo Channel and installation of a second fibre optic cable. Furthermore, work continues on the planning process for the Gozo Tunnel.

Other

  • Measures to target anti-money laundering and tax evasion, in view of the MoneyVal report. Further coordination by the National Coordination Committee where 20 competent authorities will need to address the MoneyVal recommendations. As part of this initiative, a new authority - the Financial Organised Crimes Agency - shall be created to assist the Economic Crimes Unit.  
  • Measures to improve the machinery used by the Customs Department to target anti-money laundering, financing of terrorism and counerfeit products.
  • Reform in sectors involving human trafficking, domestic violence and vulnerable persons.

 

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