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MaltaToday 25 October 2022 MIDWEEK Budget Special

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2 maltatoday | TUESDAY • 25 OCTOBER 2022 BUDGET2023 COLA Increase of €9.90 per week. Pensioners however are getting a total of €12.50 a week, an additional €2.60 All government workers will receive an additional 37,000 families will receive, on average, an additional €9.90 €3.50 €300 PUBLIC SERVICE ADDITIONAL COLA FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE STIPENDS per week apart from the collective agreement increment. The collective agreement already includes additional compensation for inflation because included increments already take COLA into account. The lowest scales (scale 17 to scale 20) of public service will also get a cash payment to benefit from the full COLA increase. Stipends will increase by €50 per year, in line with COLA increase. by cheque or direct deposit before Christmas. The actual amount will be based on the family's means and the number of children in the family unit. Government estimates this measure will reduce the poverty rate among pensioners by 1% and by 0.4% across the entire population. This benefit will be paid every year. It is revised upwards whenever inflation rate surpasses 2% and when inflation across any three of five main sectors - food, housing, utilities, household maintenance and health - tops the average of the previous five years. The measure will benefit 80,000 people and will cost the government between €10 million and €11 million in 2023. PENSIONS Pensions will increase by €12.50 per week from January, more than double the increase last year. More than 100,000 pensioners will benefit from this increase, which comes at an additional cost to public coffers of €65 million. Pensioners will be receiving an additional €650 next year. This will be the eighth consecutive increase in pensions over and above the normal cost of living adjustment. Vulnerable pensioners could also benefit from the additional COLA mecha- nism introduced in the budget that will target the poor. NON-TAXABLE THRESHOLD INCREASED The non-taxable threshold for pensions will increase to €14,968, while those using a married tax rate will continue to benefit from a tax exemption on any other income up to €3,600 per year. WIDOWS PENSIONS Widows pensions will be adjusted upward once again in line with an electoral pledge to bring these pensions equivalent to that of their deceased spouses by the end of the legislature. Around 9,000 widows will experience an increase of up to €3.54 per week on average. This measure will cost €1.6 million. 0 CARERS GRANT Parents who do not work to take care of adult disabled children will start receiving €4,500 per year, up from €500. This is equivalent to half the minimum wage. FIRST TIME BUYERS GRANT One time €10,000 grant spread out over 10 years. HOUSING SCHEMES Extension of all first-time buyer schemes, second-time buyer schemes and schemes for Gozo properties. Extension of capital gains tax exemption and property tax on first €750,000 for UCA properties vacant for over 7 years and of over 20 years since their construction. HIGHER RENT SUBSIDY CAPPING • From €400 to €500 per month for one-bedroom dwellings. • From €500 to €600 per month for two-bedroom dwellings. • From €600 to €700 per month for three-bedroom dwellings. TAX REFUND CHEQUES More than 250,000 workers will benefit. This measure will cost government €26 million. CASH GRANTS FOR SMEs Government will spend €40 million on cash grants. GOZO €60 million will be spent on sustainable urban development in Gozo. NO NEW TAXES OR INCREASES IN DUTIES AND EXCISE €90 CHILDREN'S ALLOWANCE Children's allowance will increase by €90 for every child in 2023. The measure will affect 41,100 families with around 62,000 children, and will cost €5.6 million. Government hopes to gradually increase the children's allowance by €450 until the end of the legislature. This is historically Malta's sixth consecutive budget which includes no increase in personal income tax. VAT and excise taxes will also see no increase next year. GREEN SPACES Government will spend €700 million over seven years. The environment ministry is drawing up plans to roll out a new agency.

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