Pensions and COLA safeguarded – Tonio Fenech
Pensions, the rise in the cost of living as well as a workers pay rise have been saved according to Minister of Finance Tonio Fenech, regardless of the fact that the budget did not pass.
Mr Fenech said that “Critical government expenditure can continue, meaning projects which are underway will continue to be financed, new projects mentioned in the budget, however, will not be able to proceed”. Income tax and car registration tax, will return to what they were before the budget was introduced, he added.
It has now become the Minister of Finance’ job to ensure that government continues to operate after it is dissolved, by dividing the money between the Ministries, who will then finance the projects related to their departments.
In this current situation, the current government will be able to spend a total of one-third of the budget spent this year, and will only be able to operate for the first four months of 2013. This means that whoever wins the election, would need to introduce a new budget by the end of April.
In addition, certain social benefits will also be passed regardless of the budget vote as they are ensured by the constitution. The rise in Children's benefits, however, will not be able to go through and the extension of this allowance to those aged between 78 and 80 cannot be given at this stage. The €300 allowance for the elderly would be given to those already applicable.
The Minister also said that the €40 million investment in Air Malta will still go through, meaning that the re-structuring of Air Malta will not be hindered by yesterday’s vote.
With regards to laws, the government will not be able to pass any new laws until after the elections.