Calling all Students – Here’s a Brief on Last Night’s Budget 2021

Posted On October 20, 2020

By simply logging onto Facebook last night, we’re sure you were flooded with Budget related posts, whether it was from people complaining about a lack of a proper direction or from people congratulating the government for the new proposals. It was definitely a rollercoaster of anger and joy!

Here is every point proposed by the Minister for Finance and Financial Services, Prof. Edward Scicluna, and Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy, Clayton Bartolo, that directly relate to the students at the University of Malta:

  • Free internet for post-secondary students.
  • To initiate work on the University Sport Complex.
  • Accommodation at Villa Lauri for Gozitans in Birkirkara.
  • The installation of a permanent ferry between Malta and Gozo.
  • The Covid-19 €100 vouchers will be re-issued. This time round there will be €40 worth in retail and €60 worth in accommodation and restaurants.
  • Single- use plastic will not be imported any longer.
  • Cotton buds and balloons will be outlawed.
  • There will be an increase in the grant for the car scrappage scheme when buying an environmentally-friendly one. The highest grant can go up to €7000.
  • There will be better schemes for bike purchases with a VAT Refund.
  • From now on mental health medicine will be included in government provided medication.
  • A new sexual health strategy will be implemented.
  • Lower tax rates on book royalties will also be implemented.

KSU also issued a statement last night in order to express their disappointment in the lack of proposals on issues such as:

  • Commitment on the fast ferry promised between Malta and Gozo in the most recent electoral manifesto.
  • The current 20-hour limit for working students receiving a stipend which continues to discourage hard-working students, many times first-generation students, who often work out of necessity rather than choice.
  • The absence of financial incentives for teachers and professional educators in the face of unprecedented challenges both exacerbated and caused by the pandemic.
  • The additional financial difficulties faced by prospective students looking to study in the UK due to Brexit especially at postgraduate level.
  • The complete omission of additional funding for the Genitourinary clinic which is facing unprecedented appointment and testing delays, compounded by the yet to be published updated National Sexual Health Strategy.

What do you think of such proposals? Is there anything else that Ministry of Finance failed to accommodate for and do you welcome such proposals and initiatives or not?

Written by Emma Galea

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