Update – Budget 2019: Highlights of the budget speech for Gozo
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Update with added information: This evening, Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna presented Budget 2019 in the House of Representatives.
Below are some of the highlights of the Budget announced for Gozo, and which may be updated:
Those Gozitans who have to travel to work in Malta will now receive a new allowance – a partial refund on their ferry ticket, and any Government workers who travel to Malta and use organised collective transport, will benefit from €1.50 a day, the Minister said that a 1000 workers are expected to benefit from this measure. Tax credit will continue for employers who organise this collective transport.
Patients who have to travel from Gozo to Malta for treatment can now claim travel reimbursement for adults who accompany them to Malta.
Maltese patients who travel to Gozo for treatment will also be able to claim the same.
Social Housing – a block of new eco-friendly modern apartments meeting accessibility standards. will be built in the tac-Cawla housing estate, Victoria.
The Government is committed to building a Malta-Gozo tunnel, the Finance Minister said the geological and seismic studies were completed and a seminar held in September to discuss them. These studies will form the basis for the design of the tunnel.
Work is expected to be completed by next year on the Barts Medical School, and Prof Scicluna said that the second intake of students have started this month.
Capital projects will include an SME village, a home for the elderly, the St Francis square project, a new court, work on the experimental farm, the Gozo Aquatic Centre, a park and ride to ease traffic congestion and also with the wider view of helping to improve air quality by cutting emissions.
He said that in 2019 the Marsalforn and Xlendi masterplans will be implemented, and plans finalised for the Marsalforn breakwater.
The Finance Minister said that the Government believes strongly in the potential of Gozo and that the Government’s regional strategy for the island would be implemented by the Gozo Regional Committee.
Students will now not have to pay to sit for MATSEC and SEC exams.
The scheme will continue for private companies in Gozo, who will benefit from a refund of 30% of the employees salary, up to a maximum of €6,000, to employers offering those workers a 3-year contract.
Talks are continuing between the Ministry for Gozo and ecclesiastical bodies regarding the offer of accommodation for Gozitan students who stay in Malta.
Identity Malta will be offering more services in Gozo.
Workers will receive a €2.33 increase per week cost of living adjustment for next year. Pensioners will also receive an increase €2.17 on top of this. So that COLA will not be taxed the Finance Minster said that all incomes from pensions under €13,000 will not be taxed.
The full Budget speech in Maltese is available for download here.
Photograph: DOI/Reuben Piscopo