Anyone who has a baby or adopts a child, as from next year, will get a €300 grant in an “innovative” Budget 2020 measure that is set to benefit about 4,000 families every year.

The grant, that kicks in as from January 1 2020, is intended to give parents a helping hand with the various expenses a new addition to the family brings with it, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said.

He stressed that the Labour Government was always committed to supporting families and, over the years, it had introduced many benefits that included improvements to the children’s allowances, benefits for adopted children and free child care, amongst others.

The measure comes just a few months after Eurostat figures revealed that Malta’s fertility rate was the lowest in the EU, at an average of 1.32 babies born for every woman. As a general rule, for a population to remain stable, a fertility rate in the region of 2.1 is needed. 

Other measures aimed at supporting families unveiled by Prof. Scicluna included a €35 one-off payment to families (€15 for singles) to cover milk and bread price increases. This payment will not affect next year’s cost-of-living adjustment calculation.

Another measure for families included a provision intended to help parents who had to stop working to take care of their children with rare health conditions. Such parents will be credited with eight years of social security contributions, to ensure they receive an adequate pension in future, Prof. Scicluna said adding that more details on this scheme will be unveiled at a later date. 

Meanwhile, Prof. Scicluna said widows and widowers who have children under the age of 18 and who choose to work, will receive €10 a week in children’s allowance, removing the distinction between those who work and those who stay at home.   

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