Halfway through October is about the time when Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey begin defrosting ahead of their overplayed Christmas-theme tunes. Likewise, businesses and customers have started thinking ahead too, especially for our first ever pandemic festive season. The government vouchers issued a couple of months ago proved rather successful, and there have been calls for their re-introduction. However, Finance Minister Silvio Schembri has so far remained tight-lipped. We’ve also got some questions of our own ahead of Monday’s upcoming budget.
Could they go digital?
It’s looking like a long-shot, and way back in June, Mr Wesley Ellul had mentioned this. Everything is becoming paperless for the environment’s benefit. It’s also the time to do so to avoid papers exchanging hands. It’s understandable if the first round couldn’t go digital, but for a potential second round of vouchers to meet the same fate sounds like a distinct lack of planning.
Simply stating that not everyone has a smartphone or Internet access is no excuse either. Provisions can be made for these circumstances, in a secure way that won’t allow for duplication, and everyone will get their vouchers.
Budget 2021 recommendations
The Chamber of Commerce has come up with proposals for the 2021 Budget, among which is the call for new vouchers, however without limitations on where to spend them. Other requests include tax assistance for businesses, keeping schools open to allow more flexibility for working parents, and that hybrid teleworking is better than working solely from home.
What we’re definitely supporting is their proposal to introduce tax deductions for parents buying their kids educational IT equipment, as well as the idea of public vending machines with masks and sanitisers. They also proposed setting up a fund for digital contactless solutions aimed at developing technology complementing human interactions as well as completely removing single-use plastics by January 2022.
What do you want to see?
Is there anything in particular you’d like to see the government introduce? A wage subsidy scheme is also on the Chamber’s agenda until a vaccine can be administered. Still, the big one we want is an alternative to paper vouchers being handed out. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!