Prime Minister Robert Abela on Monday pledged increases to the children’s allowance and free laptops for secondary students as part of a new package to assist families, which will cost €145 million over five years.

He said Labour was proposing a sequel to the youth guarantee scheme which will focus on children, dubbing it the “child guarantee scheme”.

He pledged to extend free childcare to all parents, irrespective of whether they work or not and promised to top up the children’s allowance by €90-a-year throughout the next five years under a Labour government.

This will mean an increase of €450 for every child over the next five years.

The childbirth bonus will increase from €400 to €500 and in-work benefits will increase by €200 a year until the end of the legislature.

He said seventh-year students will receive a free laptop to use throughout secondary school while the one-tablet-per-child scheme will be extended.

Moreover, students from low-income households will receive free internet and clothes and uniforms. 

The government will also be giving children a set of books for them to build their own library, the youth guarantee scheme will be extended and parents whose children continue studying after the compulsory education will receive a €1,500 bonus.

Abela also promised to bring about more changes to Malta’s IVF legislation to allow more couples with infertility problems to become parents without resorting to treatment overseas. He said parents who had already used IVF services for their first child will be able to go through the process against for their second.

As previously promised, all medicines related to IVF will be paid by the state, he said.

A €300 per year tax credit will be provided to families who send their children to extracurricular activities such as sports and other activities.

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