“It is a fact that last Monday’s Budget was a socially strong one, with a record of 35 social measures, intended to help the vulnerable, families and pensioners. All these incentives are the fruit of our hard work and so it is appropriate that everyone shares in this strong economic cake,” said the Minister for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity Michael Falzon during a news conference, where two main measures were explained; that of improving children’s allowance and pensions.
Minister Michael Falzon said that this government wants to see families cope while spending quality time together and therefore another day in vacation leave for those holidays that fall on the weekend was given.
Regarding the children’s allowance measure, Minister Falzon said that this year the government will step up on what it did last year, when for the first time after 11 years and in certain instances after even 23 years, increased children’s allowance rates for low- and middle-income families.
In addition to this increase an additional supplement will be given which is paid for each child in the family. Where the income of the family does not exceed twenty-five thousand, three hundred and eighteen euros (€ 25,318) per year, the rate of this supplement will be seventy euros (€ 70) per year per child. On the other hand, for the rest of the families where the income exceeds this amount, the supplement will be fifty euros (€ 50) per year per child.
In this way, a typical family with two children under the age of 16, where the family income does not exceed twenty-five thousand, three hundred and eighteen euros (€ 25,318), the family will receive an increase of € 140 per annum while where the income exceeds this amount the family will receive an increase of € 100.
This measure, which will cost more than € 3 million, will benefit more than 40,000 families with 60,500 children. This will be strengthening the government’s promise so that no child will be in poverty. Along with the children’s allowance measure there are many others that will directly improve the situation of families.
Minister Michael Falzon said that this budget is another proof of how much this government has the pensioners at its heart. Consecutive increases in pensions are taking place at a time when other countries are creating austerity measures that are hurting the elderly the hardest.
“We are doing the opposite and instead we have increased pensions again. In this legislature we increased pensions by € 11 and far exceeded the € 8 per week increase that we had promised in the electoral manifesto. We are surpassing the promises where necessary in order to improve the situation of the Maltese people, in this case, the elderly, ” added Minister Falzon.
Each pensioner, in addition to the COLA increase, will be given another increase of three euros and twenty-five cents (€ 3.25) per week which, added to the increase in the cost of living, will amount to five euros (€ 5) per week. This means an increase of sixty-two euros (€ 260) per year for all social security pensioners.
Minister Michael Falzon reminded that one cannot help but remember what we were used to under Nationalist administrations, where pensions did not increase by a single cent, and wherein only taxes and utility bills had increased, a severe blow to the elderly.