Finance Minister Clyde Caruana presented Malta's budget for 2024 on Monday evening, with the 150-minute speech living up to indications that it would focus on "prioritisation" 

Against a backdrop of unprecedented inflation, international uncertainty and local scandal, Caruana unveiled a reduced bevvy of fiscal initiatives and schemes when compared to previous years, but no new taxes. 

An energy subsidy will be maintained at a cost of €350 million, pensions will go up and there will be a big increase in children's allowance benefit payments, along with a minimum wage bump signed last week and a Cost of Living Allowance of €12.81 per week.

But there was relatively little to report when it came to more sectors such as education, health, the environment or real estate. 

Thank you and good night 

11.28pm A long night has come to an end, and it's time to put this live blog to bed. 

Thank you for having joined us, we hope you found it informative. If you're looking for details of our Budget 2024 coverage, check out the links above this text, leading you to our various articles about the key initiatives. 

Budget-at-a-glance: what’s in it for you? 

11.23pm As always, we’ve summarised the Budget and its various measures in one easy-to-digest article for you. 

So if you don’t have the stomach for a three-hour Budget speech or 6,000-word live blog, we’ve got you covered.

Take a look: what’s in the Budget for you? 

Budget 2024 reactions

11.14pm We’ve brought you summaries of most of the main reactions to the Budget speech. Giulia Magri has also brought them together in one place – take a look at them in your Budget 2024 reactions piece. 

A €100m rainy day and infrastructural spending

11.05pm Mark Laurence Zammit asks: is the government setting aside €100 million in case it loses its arbitration case with Steward? Abela speaks at length but implies that they are not.

Abela is also asked about plans for a Gozo tunnel, and implies that’s also not happening.

The PM takes exception to a question about a lack of infrastructural spending, despite Malta heaving at the seams. And he does so by comparing capital spending now…. to capital spending more than 10 years ago, under a Nationalist administration.

The government’s own figures show that capital spending will drop by around €100m next year when compared to 2023. It won’t top 2023 levels till 2026.

Metro "not at top of priorities"

11pm Two years after the fanfare, a metro plan is nowhere to be seen. Abela says it’s one of the alternatives that is on the table but admits it’s “not at the top of our list of priorities.” 

Abela on cartels 

10.52pm Abela is pushed on Caruana’s comment last week about a preponderance of cartels. He makes it clear that he believes some operators are raising prices beyond any reasonable level. 

And Caruana himself steps in. All Maltese governments, left and right, will face this competition problem, he says, because the size of Maltese markets are what they are.

Abela on Steward arbitration

10.45pm The media is now asking questions of Abela (and Fearne or Caruana). 

The PM sheds light on ongoing arbitration between the government and Steward.

We knew that Stewards wants to get paid a €100m exit fee. Abela reveals the government is seeking damages for Steward’s failure to revamp St Luke’s and carry out other infrastructural upgrades.

He also reiterates his claim that running the hospitals will cost the government as much as it paid Steward: “If anyone thinks they can do it for less, please come forward,” he says. 

Gozo Chamber: Not enough for Gozo 

10.33pm The Gozo Chamber is keen to note that it was the entity that advised the government to remove a favourable 2% tax rate for property buyers on the island.

But it’s also disappointed that money the government would be saving by removing this measure is not really being redeployed in other ways. 

One of its concerns is that several newly built apartments remain unfinished and uninhabited. Another is that Gozo badly needs a new hospital and law courts, but nothing was said about either. And it would have also liked to have seen a bigger focus on attracting new business ventures to set up shop on the island, as well as more help given to Gozo-based importers and artisans to transport their wares between the two islands.

Chamber of SMEs: Don't forget us 

10.20pm The Abela-led press conference is ongoing (Chris Fearne is speaking now) but the reactions from unions and lobbyists are still flowing in. 

The Chamber of SMEs feels its members were a bit of an afterthought. Like other social partners, it's happy with energy subsidies but says the Budget speech lacked emphasis or new incentives on how SMEs could be strengthened. 

It’s good to target high-value sectors to attract economic growth, it says, but the government should keep in mind that the absolute majority of businesses that contribute to the Maltese economy are small and medium-sized ones.

Robert Abela leads Budget press conference

9.55pm Prime Minister Robert Abela leads the traditional post-Budget press conference at Castille. 

Abela says the budget sought to “strongly attack” the rising cost of living through things like a raise in the minimum wage and increases in pensions and a children’s allowance. 

Pretty much the rest of his speech so far is focused on describing the various incentives announced by the Finance Minister, so we’ll spare you the re-run. 

But perhaps somebody whispered something about Grech’s critique to him: Abela is keen to say that spending on health will top €80m and spending on sports is close to €90m. 

Read about Abela's post-Budget 2024 statement.

ADPD: A fair budget... for who? 

9.51pm The Green Party is not too keen on two of the Budget’s key focuses: the minimum wage increase announced last week, and a renewal of energy subsidies across the board.

The minimum wage increase agreed upon with social partners is not enough to ensure a decent standard of living, it says, noting that a Caritas study had concluded that a family in 2020 needed just under €14,000 to live decently.

It is also not convinced that subsidising everyone’s energy bills, to the tune of €70,000 per hour, is the best way to spend public money.

While basic and essential consumption of electricity for homes should continue to be subsidised, subsidies to others should be revised, with money saved reinvested in areas such as education and the transition to renewable energy, APDD chairperson Sandra Gauci argued.

Bernard Grech takes reporters' questions. Shame we (or you) couldn't hear his answers to them. Photo: Jonathan BorgBernard Grech takes reporters' questions. Shame we (or you) couldn't hear his answers to them. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Grech leans on fear of foreigners

9.42pm  Grech says the Abela government wants to continue its policy of importing “cheap labour” from outside the EU.

“Maltese people are competing for health services, in traffic (with foreigners),” he says, highlighting a lack of emphasis on infrastructure spending.

“This is a government that showed it is tired and without solutions.”

He says social partners appear dissastisfied with the budget. There was nothing said of education, he says. And the government had not explained how it intended to get back the “€400m” from Steward for the fraudulent hospitals deal.

The PN feed cuts off right as Grech is about to be asked questions by reporters.

Here's a fuller piece about Bernard Grech's budget reaction.

Bernard Grech reacts to Budget

9.36pm Opposition leader Bernard Grech is giving his reaction to the budget speech. 

MEA: Rich in social measures, lacking in long term vision

9.35pm  The Malta Employers’ Association is understandably pleased about the decision to maintain energy subsidies unchanged, but says it would have liked to see a bigger focus on restructuring Malta’s economy.  

It will also come as no surprise to see that the employers’ lobby is not too happy about having to fork out almost €13 a week per worker in COLA.

On education, it says there was too little emphasis on investment in vocational skills. And the MEA is also unimpressed by the little that was said about tourism. Malta needs a clear strategy to attract higher-value tourists, it says.

Vindication for Cassola 

9.30pm Arnold Cassola can be forgiven a sense of vindication. Cassola was at the forefront of highlighting a discrepancy for pensioners born before 1962, and Labour politicians sought to ridicule him initially. 

“Good to see that, after having called me a liar, the PL government has realised that, by adopting in 2023 the reforms implemented by a PN government in 2011, it created the biggest discrimination imaginable between pre and post 1962 pensioners,” he says. 

“One hopes that the gradual remedy will not take longer than three years."

Chamber: Good job on inequality, but why the subsidy culture?

9.28pm A thoughtful reaction from the Malta Chamber, which says it is glad to see a focus on maintaining energy subsidies and helping lower-income families, but worried about the means of doing so.

“Subsidies now constitute such a substantial portion of our GDP that our economic growth is being fuelled largely by subsidies,” it says, warning that the government is creating a culture of dependency by doing so.

The Chamber is also a bit concerned about the lack of focus on infrastructural investment, given that Malta is practically creaking at the seams in that respect. 

“This budget was another missed opportunity at introducing concrete measures to disincentivise private car use in congested areas and during rush hours,” it says.

Don't say you weren't warned

9.18pm All in all, it was a much more focused budget speech than in recent years. New incentives and schemes were all focused on a handful of sectors: pensions, welfare schemes, and of course energy subsidies.

Anyone with a specific sector interest – transport, environment, education, entrepreneurship, agriculture, culture – will probably be going to bed disappointed.

Clyde Caruana will say he warned us: he made it clear last week that the focus was on “prioritisation”.

We’ll see what he, Robert Abela and of course Bernard Grech have to say about the plan shortly.

So, what did you make of the Budget? Share your views with us at


UĦM: Money for hospitals, not for workers

9.09pm Another union, UĦM- Voice of the Workers’, is also very disappointed by the failure to extend COLA to the public sector.

It says it is also “very disappointed” that the government did not accept the request to no longer tax COLA. UĦM was one of several social partners who wanted the adjustment to be made tax-free. 

“While the government did not find funds to carry out concrete measures proposed by UĦM, it had no problem spending more than €500 million on the hospital agreement,” it says. 

Forum Unions Maltin: a budget of betrayal

9.07pm The minister is all but done with the Budget speech – he’s now giving his concluding remarks. But the reactions have already started pouring in. 

Forum Unions Maltin feels betrayed: it is upset that public sector workers will not get COLA increases and warns this will leave them in a significantly worse position. 

“This shows that this government went back on its words and betrayed the workers,” the organisation says.  “This is a big blow for all workers against the backdrop of an unbridled cost of living.”

Culture and sports 

9.03pm Onto the final chapter in this budget speech: culture and sport.

There’s not much new to report for culture with the minister focusing on projects and initiatives that were already announced in the past months or years.

There’s a hint of a new incentive within the sports sector: a reduced 7.5% tax rate that currently applies to athletes and their coaches will be extended to “more people in the sports sector”. No detail.

The minister pledges that preparatory works for a waterpolo pitch in Marsascala will begin next year.

And he also says the government will set up a tribunal focused on sports disputes, and train arbiters who can help mediate such disputes. 

Temping agencies to be regulated

8.56pm Outsourcing and temping agencies are to become regulated, the minister says. Unlicenced entities will no longer be allowed to bring workers to Malta. 

There’s also the plan to require all workers with such agencies to get paid by bank transfer (rather than cash). The aim is to reduce the opportunity for unscrupulous agencies to exploit them. 

And the minister says that the plan is to make it more expensive to get a work permit than to renew an existing one. No details about that are given, though. 

Panic alarms for domestic violence victims

8.53pm There’s a plan to give victims of domestic violence so-called ‘panic alarms’ that would allow them to alert law enforcement that they need help at the click of a button. 

Get ready for public CCTV (again)

8.52pm Years ago, there was talk of CCTV being deployed across Paceville to stop crime.

It looks like the idea is back on the agenda: LESA will be investing in cameras hooked to its control room and the police that will seek to deter crime in St Julian’s, St Paul’s Bay, Marsa and Paola. 

Roads police 

8.49pm The police force is to get a new unit, named Roads Policing. Among other things, they will be empowered to rapidly reopen roads following traffic accidents. 

Deja vu 

8.46pm An aesthetics policy that has been promised for years is still being promised. And a new SPED, also promised years ago, is promised once again. We’ll get a public consultation about that, the minister says. 

More parking lots 

8.44pm Another plan to tackle traffic: more parking lots. The government wants to enter into more public-private partnerships to develop parking services, and there will be talks to develop a park-and-ride facility for University students. 

The government will also commission an analysis of its free public transport initiative. 

Incentives to buy your own e-scooter

8.42pm The government is revising its Transport Masterplan. Work to issue a first tender to develop a network of cycling routes should be done by the end of the year, the minister says. 

And consultation is under way to reduce rush hour traffic – the plan is to ensure certain services are paused until at least 9am. 

Incentives to buy an electric vehicle will be renewed. So will a scrappage scheme as well as incentives for wheelchair-friendly vehicles. And there will be a new incentive to help people buy their own e-scooter. 

We've got more about the e-scooters plan here.

Environment: a thin folder 

8.39pm The minister lists work being done by Project Green to revamp or develop urban green spaces.

He lists places where work is happening already, others where work is planned but preparations have started, and others where there’s the intention to introduce such spaces. There’s no real new announcement here. 

Home schemes for energy efficiency

8.36pm As in previous years, there will be schemes to help people invest in PV panels, heat pump water heaters, solar water heaters, well restoration and home water filtering systems. 

More fish farming 

8.34pm Another state agency on the horizon: this one will be focused on encouraging aquaculture (read: fish farming) and fishing. The government will be looking to expand aquaculture and will be issuing an expression of interest to that effect in the coming weeks. 

There will be a subsidy for fishers who employ a trainee, as well as financial aid to help fishers purchase their first fishing vessel. 

Land reclamation and a Gozo airfield

8.31pm The government’s land reclamation dream lives on, though it seems to be at a standstill. Experts are looking at various sites with the intention of making proposals public, the minister says vaguely. 

A Gozo airfield project seems to have more wings: studies are now in their final stage and the next step would be getting a permit, he says. 

Maritime sector

8.27pm Undersea dredging work is also under way at local ports, to make it easier to service larger ships. The Merchant Shipping Act will be amended next year, too, and Pinto and Lascaris Wharfs are to be extended in a €25 million project.  

Infrastructural pledges

8.24pm We’re now in the infrastructural part of the Budget speech.

The minister describes a number of infrastructural projects that were either announced in the past, or currently in the works: things like the Msida Creek road upgrade, massively upgrading Enemalta’s electricity infrastructure, enlarging reverse osmosis plants and building an incinerator and other waste infrastructure at Magħtab.

A hydrogen power strategy 

8.20pm The minister is talking about the government’s energy policy. In a word, it’s all about diversifying supply. 

Caruana rattles off the various initiatives under way or in the pipeline [pardon the pun]: a second interconnector, talk of offshore wind, large battery storage systems.

But he also reveals something new: a plan to develop a hydrogen energy strategy. The government would like to encourage diesel-powered industrial processes that cannot go electric to switch to hydrogen instead.

Franco Debono, who spoke about hydrogen power in parliament more than a decade ago, must be grinning somewhere. 

Gozo to get €58m in EU funding 

8.15pm A €58 million pot of EU funding focused on urban development will be entirely allocated to Gozo, the minister reveals. 

EU funds for SMEs 

8.14pm There will be millions available through EU-funded schemes for SMEs, Business Enhance (€40 million) and INVEST EU (€16.5 million). 


8.13pm And now we’re onto tourism.The ‘new’ Air Malta will get €215 million in public money – something we knew already. 

The Freeport will be extended – something we already knew – and get onshore power. Which we also knew. 


New economic sectors

8.08pm Malta is keen to develop some new financial niches, Caruana says: things like wealth and asset management, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and aircraft leasing. 

The MFSA is working to introduce regulatory frameworks for such things and work is also under way to draft necessary laws. 

Another potential new sector is sustainable finance: the government will be launching a public consultation to drum up ideas for fiscal incentives to encourage that sort of investing.

Here's more about those new economic niches.

No change to corporate tax for now 

8.02pm Malta will not be changing its corporate tax rules – at least not for now. 

The country will be using a clause in a global deal to hold off implementing a minimum 15% rate for up to six years, the minister confirms. That deal technically kicks in next year. 

The derogation is allowed for countries which do not host many large multinationals (like Malta).

However, companies in Malta might see a slight increase in their tax bills over the transitional period, he says, though Malta will be working to find ways of introducing grants or tax credits in line with EU and OECD rules. 

Move over, Taiwan

7.59pm It looks like we’re aiming to ride the microchip wave. 

Malta will have a ‘centre of competence’ for semiconductors, the minister says, which will focus on training future workers in the sector. 

Getting small business to file returns on time

7.55pm A somewhat vague pledge for small business owners: the minister says obligations on them to submit audited accounts for tax purposes will be lightened, but that this won’t compromise their financial statements. 

“This will lead to more companies regularising their tax affairs and filing their returns in time,” the minister says. 

€75m spending on hospitals 

7.53pm And now we’re onto health. 

As Robert Abela indicated, we’ll be spending €75 million to run the two hospitals seized from Steward [Karin Grech and Gozo General]. A third, St Luke’s, is of course abandoned, run-down and not operational. 

The government formulary will be expanded to include new IVF medicines as well as medication for asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and various mental health conditions. 

Health clinics in Mosta, Floriana and Cospicua will be refurbished and blood transfusion services will start being made available at health clinics. 

Drawing blanks on education 

7.48pm The minister is speaking about education, but it’s hard to report on this part of the speech: the things the minister is ‘announcing’ are either already known (e.g. an increase in stipends, giving schoolchildren a tablet) or not really budget-related (sprucing up the St George Primary School in Qormi).

And it seems I’m not alone: the Malta Union of Teachers has already expressed its disappointment.

“Where is the vision of the education sector in the 2024 budget?” the MUT asks.

The only three items related to education were announced in the past months, it notes – a National Education Strategy, laptops for students in Year 7 and the completion of infrastructural works on a number of schools.

In-work benefit

7.45pm An in-work benefit is to be topped up by €50 per child aged under 23, and given that the benefit impacts so many households, doing that will cost €16 million. 

Pensioners who choose to work 

7.42pm To encourage pensioners to continue working, the maximum amount of working income that will be untaxed is to rise by 20 percentage points to 60%.

Pensions, Caruana emphasises, are entirely tax-free[correction: pensions are partially tax-exempt and subject to tax rebates]

The measure going to cost the government a pretty penny: €27 million, the minister says.


Tax refund cheques 

7.41pm As has become customary, you can expect a tax refund cheque next year, ranging from €60 to €140 based on income. 

How tax refund cheques will be calculated.How tax refund cheques will be calculated.

Encouraging buyers to restore old Gozo homes

7.39pm Here’s an interesting one: if you’re a first-time buyer who opts for a property in Gozo that is either vacant or else in an Urban Conservation Area, you’ll get an extra €10,000 in state aid (meaning €40,000 in total). 

Here's more about the first-time buyers incentives.

First-time buyers

7.38pm A first-time buyers scheme announced last year will continue, and the allocation for it is to grow: the government will spend €5.2 million on it next year, having spent €3m on it this year. 

And first- and second-time property buyers will keep paying lower rates of duty, as happened in the past years. 

They're also fixing an anomaly in a scheme to refund VAT on restoration works. The anomaly saw single people eligible for a lower refund. No more. 

Bernard Grech: A budget with no vision

7.35pm In his first reaction, Opposition leader Bernard Grech derides a budget with "No ideas. No vision. No direction."

Benefits for social housing beneficiaries

7.35pm There are some increases in a benefit related to social housing (Private rent housing benefit scheme – catchy title) which will rise to €4,200 for single people and €6,000 for families with two or more children. 

And there’s also a measure that will see beneficiaries of some Housing Authority schemes exempt from paying taxes when buying or selling a home, on the first €200,000 in value. 

The annual injustices pledge

7.29pm As is customary, there’s a promise to help workers who suffered ‘injustices’ under previous administrations.

No euro amounts are mentioned, but Caruana says people who were sacked from the dockyard will be among them. 

Help for carers of disabled children

7.23pm Parents who quit work to look after a disabled child willget an additional €487 a year. 

A disability benefit will also rise. Severe disability benefits (that’s the one abused in the disability racket we exposed) will rise by €12.81 a week. A standard disability benefit will increase by €8.54 a week. 

A tax credit for parents of children with disability undergoing therapy will more than double to €500 per child, per year. 

More about carers' benefits here.

Tweaks to unemployment benefits

7.22pm Unemployment benefits are to be tweaked so that beneficiaries will receive 60% of their previous salary for the first six weeks, then 55% for 10 weeks and 50% for the final 10 weeks. The unemployment benefit will be capped at 175% of the minimum wage. 

Those who are temporarily unable to work will be able to avail of a partial invalidity benefit. 

Read more about changes to unemployment benefits.

Boosts for senior citizens

7.20pm There are increases for various social benefits concerning senior citizens: a carer at home allowance will rise to €8,000 a year, while those who choose to live at home or pay for a private care home will get €300 a year (€450 if you’re over 80). 

Helping those who didn't reach the pensions finish line

7.19pm In 2015, the government started paying out a bonus to those who did not have enough social security contributions to get a pension. The bonus has been increased each year, and next year it will rise to €500 (from €450) for those with up to four years of contributions, and €600 for those who paid up to nine years of contributions. 

More babies, more money

7.18pm Have a baby, collect €500. Have a second, collect €1,000.

The government is upping its bonus for new births and adoptions, mindful of Malta’s low birthrate.  

Keeping kids in school 

7.17pm A financial incentive to keep children in school: Families will continue to get a benefit if their children stay in school after 16 [when children's allowance benefits usually lapse] and continue to live at home.  

They will be given a €500 yearly payment for three years.

A €250 children's allowance boost

7.16pm A massive increase in children’s allowance payments: each family is to get an additional €250 per child each year.

That’s practically double the €90 increase introduced in last year’s budget, and goes a long way towards Labour achieving the €450 per child increase it pledged to introduce throughout this legislature. 

“This is the biggest increase ever given in the 50 years that this benefit has existed and will impact more than 41,000 families,” the minister says. 

Read about the children's allowance boost in greater detail.

COLA Plus, plus 

7.15pm An additional COLA supplement introduced last year (which we had dubbed COLA Plus, for want of a catchier phrase) is to be extended.

The supplement varies between €100 and €1,500 a year, depending on household income. 

Caruana claims a massive 95,000 families will be impacted and says the payment will now be split into two, with one payment in December and another in May. 

Here's more about this measure.

A focus on private pensions 

7.14pm It’s not a budget measure, but it’s an interesting shift in government policy: a full endorsement of third pillar pensions. 

“We believe we need to reach a point where every worker is automatically enrolled in a private pension scheme, though they will have the option to opt out,” Caruana says.

He says the government and social partners will be discussing this in detail next year. 

Speaking of pensions, here's our article focused on pension changes.

Incentives to keep people in work 

7.13pm Financial incentives to encourage older workers to remain the workforce are to increase. Now if you’re eligible for a retirement pension but stick around for a year you will get a 6.5% pension top-up. And that will rise to a massive 29% if you postpone your pension by four years. 

What could the pre-1962 change mean? 

7.12pm Jonathan Mifsud from Buddy HR gives us his take on the pre-1962 change.

“The minister said they will be removing ‘class 1 and class 2’ pensions. Social security could now move from 2 blocks into a single block. Hence anyone born before 1961 may be paying more social security. It is not entirely clear if the increase is only for pensions or includes anyone still working.

This could affect anyone that is 62 and will retire at 64. This largely impacts anyone that was on salary higher than 405.58 per week”

Dig deeper

7.10pm We’ve published a piece explaining the government’s energy subsidy plans as well as an outlook of public finances. They’re looking good, but mind the debt. 

Pledges for widows and widowers 

7.07pm There are also pledges for widows and widowers under 61: their pensions will not be taxed as of next year. Such pensioners will also be getting some extra money as the government rolls out a pledge to make them entitled to the amount their deceased spouse would have been entitled to. 

Fixing a pre-1962 pensions anomaly

7.07pm Good news for those born before 1962: an anomaly that has been much-discussed in recent months is to be addressed.

Previously, those born before 1962 were only entitled to increases based on the rising rate of the cost of living. Now, they will be treated like their post-1962 peers and also get increases calculated on rises in salaries. 

Another change will also benefit pre-1962 citizens whose current salaries is higher than their maximum pensionable income. They will be receiving a pension top-up. 

Pensions to increase 

7.05pm Pensions are to increase by what Caruana says is €15 weekly or €780 a year.

In reality, that figure includes the record €12.81 weekly COLA adjustment that they will receive next year to counterbalance high inflation, meaning pensions themselves are actually increasing by €2.19 a week. 

The budget also includes a pledge that pensioners who started receiving a pension from 2009 onwards will get an additional topup, up to a maximum of €1 per week. 

Meanwhile, the Opposition sighs

7.02pm PN general secretary Michael Piccinino says Caruana has spent the first 15 minutes talking about 2010 instead of focusing on the future.

His Facebook post comes with a hashtag #abudgetwithout solutions.

Subsidies to cost €350m

6.57pm Caruana is now back to hammering home the importance of energy subsidies, and comparing Malta’s blanket subsidy to what other EU countries did. 

Being selective in granting subsidies would have “broken Malta’s middle class,” he argues.  

Spending on subsidies next year will be around €350 million [mostly on energy, with some on cereals]. 

Over three years, it will have spent €931 million to ensure energy prices are stable, he says.

“If we didn’t do this, diesel would cost €1.91 per litre instead of €1.21... petrol would cost €1.94 per litre instead of €1.34.”

A couple paying €403 a year for electricity would end up paying more than double, €822, he says. 

Government finances

6.52pm The finance minister now gives an overview of the country’s national finances. We’ll have a full article about that up shortly, but the summarised version is: the economy is growing, deficit is dropping and debt will remain below EU thresholds. Unemployment is at record lows and the labour participation rate is now just under 79%. 

Energy subsidies, 'unlike 2010' 

6.45pm Caruana now uses the pulpit to twist the political knife: he quotes extensively from the 2010 budget speech, when a PN administration raised electricity tariffs, blaming rising oil prices. 

This government will not be doing that, he says, as he tells the House, and it will manage to keep energy prices stable while keeping national debt at 55% of GDP, rather than the 68% it reached back then. 

Spending on health, education, welfare to increase

6.40pm   Spending on health, education and social welfare will increase next year, Caruana boasts.

That tallies with what we predicted earlier, in line with the ‘Malta Ġusta’ line.

Caruana contrasts that to what’s happening in Germany – which is currently technically in recession – and which announced a significant cut in health, education and welfare spending. 

Clyde Caruana sets the scene  

6.34pm Caruana has started his budget speech, and as is customary he does so by explaining the global context within which the budget is happening. 

He talks of war, inflation, and all the other challenges you're all familiar with. 

And he follows it up, as is also customary, by talking up his government's ability at weathering those challenges. 

What can we expect? 

5.58pm Earlier in the day, Abela channelled his inner Abe Lincoln in promising a budget “by the people, for the people.” And that’s reflected in the government’s chosen tagline for Budget 2024 – Malta Ġusta.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana hinted last week that the key aim was “prioritisation” of public spending.

Take those two together, and the impression is that we can expect an increased focus on recurrent spending for things like pensions and welfare benefits, with less money to splurge on more experimental initiatives and big-ticket infrastructural projects. At this stage, that’s just an assumption – we’ll see what’s in store.

PN leader warns of 'irrelevant budget'

5.35pm Opposition leader Bernard Grech said he hoped he could hear the finance minister address the cost-of-living crisis and how he intended to diversify the economic model.

He piled pressure on the government on the hospitals' scandal, saying the country was expecting an explanation of how the government planned to get the €400 million back.

If Caruana failed to address inflation and the hospitals' debacle, then it would be nothing more than an irrelevant budget, Grech warned. 

Uncertain times

5.25pm The last few years have been dictated by a pandemic and the Ukraine and Middle East wars, which decimated lives and economies, and fuelled inflation and economic uncertainty.

The budget is taking place just a week after the appeals court found collusion into a scandalous hospitals' deal, which has sparked a political earthquake.

While we do expect to hear about the turbulent international situation, we are not sure whether the Maltese political scandals will feature in Budget 2024.


5.15pm Good evening and welcome to this year’s budget blog. We’ll be taking you through the Budget 2024 speech – and its key measures – as the Finance Minister unveils them. 

Caruana, with shiny red briefcase in hand, visited President George Vella earlier today to present the budget document to him, before proceeding to parliament in Valletta. 

We expect him to start the budget speech at around 6.30pm.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana walking into the Grand Master’s Palace who will sign off the budget. Photo: Chris Sant FournierFinance Minister Clyde Caruana walking into the Grand Master’s Palace who will sign off the budget. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

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