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Government to extend bond offer for the elderly by €30m

Another pension raise in the Budget

 

Pensioners who missed out on the 62+ Government Savings Bond which was oversubscribed in a matter of hours will have a second chance to benefit from this scheme, as a further €30 million will be offered, the Finance Minister announced this evening.

Prof. Edward Scicluna was addressing a public consultation meeting in the run-up to the 2018 budget, set for October 9. 

Launched on September 4, the bond scheme was meant to offer pensioners an additional revenue stream through an interest rate of three per cent payable twice a year. The initiative for which the finance ministry had allocated €70 million was oversubscribed on the first day, with the value of the bids received being in the region of €100 million.

The scheme was rolled out in response to criticism that returns on interest rates on fixed bank deposits were no longer attractive and the elderly, in particular, had suffered a drop in income.

Asked by a member of the audience, what additional measures would be taken by the government, especially for the elderly, Prof. Scicluna said that a further increase in pensions over and above those introduced in recent years was in the pipeline. 

Touching on the 62+ scheme, he said that the Cabinet had approved a further allocation of €30 million. The bonds which have a five-year maturity are open for those born in 1955 or earlier. 

While declining to give any details on the Budget measures the finance minister noted that the country’s emphasis had shifted from high utility bills and hospital waiting lists in 2013 to issues like the environment, roads, and public cleansing. 

“This transition is the result of a booming economy,” Prof. Scicluna said.

He noted however, that this economic success had resulted in what he described as “wear and rare” to the country’s infrastructure, like increased traffic. 

Prof. Scicluna said that thanks to the current boom the government was starting to address pending issue which had been relegated to the back burner for years by Nationalist administrations, like compensation related to police overtime and funds due to port workers and former electricity board employees. "Though we were not legally bound to give compensation we felt morally obliged to do so," he said.

Asked about poverty, the finance minister pointed out that cutting taxes, on its own,  was not enough to address this problem, saying that low income earners were in all probability already tax exempt and so would not benefit. 

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