All workers will get a €2.33 weekly increase as part of the cost-of-living adjustment next year, the government confirmed during Monday's Budget Speech. Students will get a pro-rata increase in their stipend.

Furthermore, in terms of an agreement with employers, those workers who have been on minimum wage for more than a year will get an additional €3 weekly.

Employed people will also get an additional day of annual leave as of next year, following an agreement with employers about public holidays falling on weekends.

First increase in Children’s allowance for many years

Delivering the Budget speech, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said Children’s allowance would be raised for the first time in 11 years. For parents earning up to a combined gross total of €20,000 a year, the allowance will increase to €96 per child, benefiting 24,600 children.

As was the case this year, the government will next year give tax refunds of between €40 and €68, with those with the lowest income getting the highest amounts.

Also from next year, self-employed people forced to close their companies will be eligible for unemployment benefit.

There will be an increase, to €5.14 per week, in the non-contributory medical assistance given to elderly with chronic illnesses. The assistance will apply equally to married couples.

Higher marriage grant

Prof Scicluna also announced that the marriage grant is to rise to €2,000 from January 1, an increase of €250. 

Vat charged on e-books and musical instruments will also be reduced to 5%.

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