Abela promises ‘Socialist’ budget, 95,000 families to receive additional COLA

The Prime Minister said that those most in need will get an additional COLA payment that varies between €100 and €1,500

Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday (Photo: Partit Laburista)
Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday (Photo: Partit Laburista)

Prime Minister Robert Abela defined Monday’s budget as a “socialist one” and stated that 95,000 families will benefit from an additional COLA payment next year.

Abela addressed a Labour Party rally in Żabbar on Sunday morning, on the eve of the budget speech, where he emphasised that his government believed in the creation of wealth

“In recent years we understood that workers can only prosper if the economy grew […] In order for the economy to grow, we need to sustain businesses,” Abela stated.

“I always believed in the principle that workers need an employer to provide them with jobs, but then for the business to grow, the workers need to enjoy part of the success.”

Abela said that Labour governments in recent years gave back the public holidays that fell on weekends as additional leave to workers, without increasing the “burden” on businesses.

The PM said that his government did not wait for the budget to safeguard workers and improve their conditions and as per the 2022 electoral manifesto set up the Low Wage Commission earlier in the year.

He referred to the sealed agreement for an increase in the minimum wage levels, under which workers will also see their minimum wage for a 40-hour work week rise incrementally over four years.

The minimum wage for workers over 18 will rise to €200.73 in 2024, then €203.73 in 2025, €206.73 in 2026, and €210.73 in 2027. The hourly rate will rise from €4.82 to €5.34 next year.

"Next January, the minimum wage will increase by €21 per week. It means that for every €1,000 that a worker currently receives, they will be paid €1,100 from next January. In a year the increase will be equivalent to 40 days of the current wage," Abela said.

The PM emphasised that inflation is still a “global challenge” that can’t be ignored, and said that the Labour government will strengthen the additional COLA mechanism in Monday’s budget.

“Last year 50,000 families in need benefitted from the additional COLA payment, but next year 95,000 families (including the majority of pensioners) will get it,” Abela said.

According to the PM, the payments to those most in need will vary between €100 and €1,500 each.

For the 2024 budget, Abela also promised a sustained and untaxed in-work benefit and that the energy prices will remain stable.

“Tomorrow’s budget will not be one that will just help people survive but will help them prosper even more,” Abela stated.