Malta will fork out €350 million to subsidise electricity, water, fuel, cereals and animal feed next year.
The 2024 Budget focused a great deal on the subsidies, with the government estimating that they will be in place until at least 2026.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said that the subsidies are absolutely crucial to the stability of the Maltese economy and that people shouldn’t take them for granted.
He said businesses currently pay 20c per unit of electricity, compared to over 40c in Germany. He also said a regular middle-income family with two cars and regular electricity consumption is currently saving some €1,200 a year in fuel and €700 on electricity.
Our energy assistance subsidies are there to stay. We're investing €350 million to ensure your water & electricity bills won't increase. This support continues in this year's budget, bolstering businesses' competitiveness & safeguarding everyone's income & living standards. 1/2
— Robert Abela (@RobertAbela_MT) October 30, 2023
He said that while the majority of EU countries, such as Germany, Greece and Italy, only reduced electricity prices for the most vulnerable families, Malta subsidised prices across the board.
“Had we done like them, we would have destroyed the middle class and businesses,” he said.
However, he warned that while it’s helping keep businesses and households afloat, it’s come at a hefty cost to the public purse. In fact, the subsidies amount for €5 of every €100 the government spends every day to run its daily operations.
These subsidies are a main reason the 2024 Budget isn’t as jam-packed with ‘goodies’ and initiatives as Labour’s budgets have traditionally been over the past decade.
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