Budget 2021: Not All We Hoped For

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Yesterday’s Budget was possibly the strangest and most precarious we’ve had as a country thus far, as presented by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna. We gave our suggestions, and though we’re feeling kinda blue on the digital voucher front, there are still positives to take.

No digital vouchers

We were really hoping for this one. It would have been more environmentally sound to have digital vouchers, and possibly cheaper. Secondly, you’re really pushing the country’s digital agenda forward, and if someone’s not as tech-savvy, then they can opt for the printed variation. Last but not least, and most importantly right now, you avoid the exchanging of papers between hands. So, we’re happy that the vouchers are back, but not with the distribution, especially since they arrive in January.

Pushing digital in business

This suggestion thankfully came to fruition, and in more detail too as this Budget looks to take things further. Digitised punch clocks, free online courses for new start-ups and NGOs as well as free payroll software for NGOs and sports clubs are excellent ideas. Let’s see how they fare in practice.

The increase in the VAT exemption threshold to €30,000 for businesses is also welcomed, and the minister also announced new measures to help companies to move online will be introduced.

Education & Carbon Emissions

No real news here, as we were hoping to see subsidies for families that invest in educational tech, but with schools set to remain (kind of) open, we can understand why this didn’t happen.

From the emissions perspective, the current incentives to go electric were maintained and may possibly be extended. There will also be a higher grant for those who convert their cars to run on gas, but we were hoping to see a bit more here.

Not so sure about that…

There was no direct reference to utility bill assistance, but the wage supplement packages are being extended until at least March 2021. After that, it depends on the COVID situation, so fingers crossed there. We’ve also been informed about a 10-year tourism plan, with an apparent focus on conferences and conventions. We’re just hoping that the pandemic is over soon, because if not, we’re not sure who we’d be convening for.

Before we go

Other than this moment between Manuel Mallia and Jose Herrera, what else would you have liked to have seen in this year’s Budget? Do you agree with the measures, or are they too short-sighted? Let us know in the comments!

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