It was a budget that prioritised the vulnerable and offered low-income property buyers a way to enter the housing market. So what did Budget 2020 offer you?
• €300 grant for every child born or adopted as of next year
• Parents who quit work to care for a very sick child will be given 8 years of National Insurance contributions
• Widows and widowers who choose to work will still receive a full €10 per week in children’s allowance, instead of the reduced one they were eligible for before.
• Extension of free school transport for all students.
• Fees for appeals lodged by NGOs against planning decisions will be capped at €1,000
• Cost of living allowance increase of €3.49 per week
• An extra day of leave
• A tax rebate cheque for those earning under €60,000
• Reduced tax rate of 15% on first 100 hours of overtime – provided you earn less than a €20,000 basic salary and are not a manager
• Private pension scheme incentives renewed
• Grant of up to €200,000 for contractors to scrap old machinery and buy new, less polluting models
• Extension of start-up schemes
• Disabled who cannot work will receive the minimum wage equivalent of €161 per week as a benefit
• Grant of up to €1,000 to cover VAT costs of equipment to help manage disability
• Broader disability eligibility criteria for blind and deaf
• Cancer patients will have the first three days of sick leave covered by government
• ME and fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, added to the list of illnesses eligible for government assistance, subject to stringent testing
• Electric car owners will pay a reduced electricity tariff if they charge their cars at home
• Existing scrappage scheme will be extended
Alternative transport users
• Pedestrian and cycling bridges in Blata l-Bajda, Gudja and Mcast.
• Free bus passes for over 75s.
• Extending ferry network to include St Paul’s Bay, Marsascala, Marsaxlokk, St Julian’s and Mellieħa
• All existing schemes to buy bicycles, scooters and pedelecs will be extended.
• Low-income earners aged under 40 can qualify for an interest-free loan of up to €17,500.
• Stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers on first €175,000 of a property’s value
• Scheme to restore facades of old houses Irrestawra Darek extended for a further year
• Extended income caps on eligibility thresholds for rent benefits: up to €19,000 in income for single people and €32,000 for families with children.
• 15 per cent withholding tax on promise of sales for the first €100,000 in value, instead of the existing 35 per cent rate.
• Grant of up to €1,000 for early adopters of PV panels, to use to buy a battery which can store generated energy.
• Incentives to hold conferences, meetings and events in Gozo
• Tax credits and fiscal incentives for companies setting up shop in Gozo
• Gozo Channel to work to make fourth ferry permanent
• €10 million for road projects
• Maltese language spell checker
• Up to €850 grant to go abroad to learn a foreign language
• No VAT on distance learning courses or vocational training
• Tablets for middle school students
• Digital catalogue of National Library documents
• A €3.51 per week increase in pensions. Tax bands will be adjusted to ensure pensions remain tax-free
• Free public transport for people aged 75 and over
• People who receive a services pension and continued to work after that can have their pension recalculated once they reach pensionable age
• Senior citizens who are ineligible for a minimum pension will continue to receive a €200-€300 bonus once they reach 75
• Supplementary aid given to people aged 65+ and who are at risk of poverty will rise from €100 to €150 a year
• Additional €50 annually for people aged 80 and over and who live in their own home
• €300 yearly to senior citizens who pay their own retirement home costs
• New 62+ savings bond
• €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 allowance calculations
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