Budget 2021

Budget 2021: Business aid not to be based on industry category  

18th September 2020

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna was taking questions during a public consultation ahead of Budget 2021

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that aid provided to businesses struggling through COVID disruptions will not be industry specific or based on the EU NACE categorisation.

Speaking during a live Facebook session where he took questions about the upcoming Budget 2021, to be announced some time in October, he said that it could be the case that certain aid is "earmarked" for companies in a "certain situation".

He said that the key question for authorities is to determine which benefits remain relevant beyond October, the current expiration date for several aid measures.

Minister Scicluna said that with limited resources available, aid should be diverted to areas that need it most. Speaking of shops, for example, he said that they have been allowed to reopen, and while restrictions remain in place, a level of normality has been returned.

In the case of hotels, the minister said there is still “certain fear,” and that “the situation is not solved”.

Minister Scicluna would not commit to the full €800 monthly wage supplement continuing for entities operating in industries in ‘Annex A,’ adding that the authorities are reviewing each measure and their impact.

“If it is a wage supplement, or business aid, help will be given until there is need,” he said.

Onto whether the Government would be increasing taxation to fund the COVID-related benefits provided in 2020, he said that while public debt will increase, thanks to a level of savings, the Government will not need to increase taxation in 2021.

Asked about the first-time buyer’s scheme, the finance minister said that the Government is not seeing that this scheme will be stopped next year.

In the case of pensions, Minister Scicluna said the Government will continue to sustain payments, in order to strengthen the quality of life of the elderly.

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Budget 2021: Business aid not to be based on industry category