The Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna, said the Budget presented yesterday and the general reaction to it is evidence the Government is conscious of the challenges, opportunities and needs of the community.
During a media conference on the day after his Budget presentation, Minister Scicluna said the measures had been chosen with careful consideration while Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said the Budget reflects the successes achieved by the country over the last five years and how today’s and tomorrow’s challenges are being faced.
Meanwhile, today the Budget Helpline began to operate and during the first five hours 300 clarifications were requested on the Budget’s measures.
The initial response on the line is “Good morning, this is Kimberly on the Budget Helpline; how can I help you?”
Early on Tuesday morning, in less than 12 hours after the Budget Speech, a number of agents began training on the measures announced by Minister Scicluna to be able to respond to questions put by the public on freephone 80072207.
“Yes exactly, the cost-of-living increase is €3.49.”
“For pensioners it is €7 per week.”
Maria Micallef on behalf of the Call Centre receiving the calls told us that during the first five hours more than 300 calls were received and the most common questions regarded pensions, the cost-of-living increase and family benefits.
She said many asked about the benefit of €300 from 2020 for every born child as well as children that will be adopted.
The Helpline will remain open to 15th November from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 6 pm in three different formats – telephone calls, emails on [email protected] or messages on the Facebook page ‘MaltaGov’.
A note is taken of each question made, whether more information is required as to how a measure is to be implemented and this is then passed to the Ministry concerned as to whether the measure is to be implemented this year or in the coming year and the Ministry will then respond to the question.
Minister Scicluna said he is satisfied by the general reaction to the Budget by the media and constituted bodies and it is clear that the measures announced address matters that concern people. He said this time the Government has given greater awareness to local challenges such as open spaces and traffic congestion.
He asked what is it that people want from Government and as the English saying goes, they want a Government that is on the ball and aware of all issues whether local or international as well as challenges and opportunities.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said the Budget continues to build on the Government’s achievements and successes in recent years while establishing a sustainable basis to address difficulties being faced by the country.
He said the Budget is pro-business, pro-environmental and pro-worker and the Government is proud it is not afraid to take decisions for sectors of society in most need.
Dr Fearne said this is a Budget that favours the country and offers peace of mind and solutions to challenges.