Increase in pensioners’ income
With every budget, there is a lot of discussion about pension increases and the income of pensioners. Below is a table illustrating the reality and method used to pay this benefit.
The table covers a period of five years, that is from 2020 to 2024.
From the above, it can be noted that two-thirds of the COLA increase is paid with the rate of pension and one third separately as an allowance.
Moreover, an extra increase is also added to the rate of pension.
For the year 2024, the rate of pension is increased by a total of €10.73 (that is, €8.54 + €2.19).
The amount of €2.19 is an extra increase, a total of €15 per week.
A point that was never discussed is about the difference between an increase in COLA and a normal increase in the rate of pension.
An increase in the cost-of-living adjustment is awarded to enhance the purchasing power of workers and pensioners resulting from inflation and higher prices.
On the other hand, an increase in the rate of pension results from other changes, such as an increase in wages and salaries through collective agreements between unions and employers.
The payment of both benefits together is a convenient measure adopted by the department of social security to save time, money and other resources.
It is time to be honest and call a spade, a spade, which means that the COLA should be considered as a “refund” to workers and pensioners who have already spent the money due to the constant and unlimited increases of prices for goods, services, health, rent, etc. in previous months. It should be tax-exempted.
If everything is put in its own perspective, the true picture with regard to the weekly average income of €44.5, which is indicated in the table in the last five years, emanates from two sources, namely €29.6 from the cost-of-living adjustment and €14.8 as extra payment.
From a technical point of view, it can also be noted that the average weekly rate of pension for the period 2020 to 2024 increased by just €2.96.
Carmel Mallia – honorary president, National Association of Pensioners, Lija
Which Bernard Grech to believe?
As everyone on this blessed island knows, the opposition leader has been claiming for many months that the hundreds of millions which the government has been giving to all Maltese families and businesses in subsidies on energy, fuels, wheat and animal feed “are unsustainable”. Hence they should be stopped.
After the budget debate, Grech has said that a PN government “would keep the subsidies”.
Which Grech should voters believe – the pre-budget one or the post-budget one?
Eddy Privitera – Naxxar