The Finance Ministry has welcomed official statistics which showed that the deficit for the first 11 months this year was more than halved over last year.

Government finance data showed a reduction of €100.7 million in the consolidated fund deficit in the period January to November.

The steady reduction in the deficit achieved in the past months reflected the consistent growth in recurrent revenue and a more contained growth in expenditure. Recurrent revenue increased by €150.4 million or 4.8 per cent while total expenditure increased by €49.6 million or 1.5 per cent, the ministry said in a statement. 

The increase in recurrent revenue was backed by higher revenue from income tax (€118.1 million) and social security (€59.9 million) which in turn reflected the affirmative performance of the labour market during this year. Other increases were registered in revenues from licences, taxes and fines, VAT and fees of office.

The increase in recurrent expenditure mainly reflected the increase in expenditure on programs and initiatives (€74.7 million) which mainly reflected added expenditure towards social security, health and education as well as the EU Presidency 2017. Other expenditure increases were recorded in contributions to government entities, personal emoluments and operational and maintenance expenses.

The ministry noted that the increase in recurrent revenue for the eleven-month period was significant, despite a €75.8 million decline in grants reflecting the closure of the European Union financing period 2007-2013 at the end of last year. Reductions in the EU grant component is being balanced by lower EU funded capital expenditure.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said: “this positive result indicates that by the end-of this year, the government will have succeeded in reducing the fiscal burden on Maltese households by over €100 million”. 

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