The Minister for Solidarity, the Family and Rights of Children, Michael Falzon, said the planned expenditure on social measures announced in last Monday’s Budget will entail an expenditure of almost €1,200 million, the majority of this benefitting pensions and about 95,000 pensioners.
Reviewing the measures announced on Monday, the Minister for Inclusion and the Quality of Life, Julia Farrugia Portelli said that Budget 2022 is the strongest ever for persons with disabilities with an increase of €8 million over this current year.
During a meeting with pensioners Minister Falzon said that over the last nine years pensions have increased by €28 over cost-of-living increases and this time is of €5 including c-o-l and will benefit 95,000 pensioners.
This means that over the last four years pensions have increased by €25 when including c-o-l in contrast to the previous 20 years when Nationalist Governments had never increased pensions except for c-o-l measures.
Minister Falzon said last year’s measures for those that do not have ten years of NI payments has led to about 800 persons being given a pension and this year this will increase by a further 1,200 at an expense of €3.2 million.
He reminded that pensioners are benefitting from other measures including the addition of carer expenses as well as free medicines and supplementary benefits. Minister Falzon said the Government is safeguarding those most vulnerable to be given financial support to provide their needs.
During a media conference Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli maintained the Budget has dedicated more than €59 million for inclusion and €50 million of these will be dedicated to those in the disabled sector.
She said this is a Budget based on social justice because the Ministry has been allocated an additional €8 million.
The Minister said the allowance for children with disabilities has been increased by €5 and this will now attain €1,560 annually, double to that when compared to 2013.
She explained that in the coming year, every Government school will be equipped for children with autism as well as sign language.
Psychological help will be provided for persons with disabilities and the Government guarantee will continue for persons with disabilities or persons with an illness to enable them to become owners of their own homes.
The Minister maintained that persons with disabilities should be given the opportunity to enable them to become independent in every sector, including driving and these will be given training, including to those use a wheel chair.
Regarding youths, the Minister said the increase of 10% in stipends had been well met and these are enabled to work up to 25 hours weekly without their stipend being decreased.