10 community homes planned by 2018

Minister Scicluna also announced a new programme to carry out structural work in private homes to ensure that persons with disability can live in their own house.

Measures in aid of persons with disability took centre stage in the 2015 Budget, with the government committing itself to open 10 community homes by 2018.

The first home which will be opened in the coming months will be in Siggiewi and in the near future an expression of interest will be issued for the construction of two homes, one in Gozo and another in Malta.

Minister Scicluna also announced a new programme to carry out structural work in private homes to ensure that persons with disability can live in their own house.

Parents of persons with disability will also be able to make use of respite services through residential services or families which will offer fostering services.

Moreover, trusts inherited by persons with disability will be tax-free.

In a bold move, the government announced that companies which do not observe the 2% rule of employment, will be fined €2,400 for each person with disability who is not employed according to the 1967 law.

The law, which has never been enforced, lays down that 2% of the workforce at companies employing 20 workers or more must be persons with disability.

The maximum penalty will be set at €10,000 and companies will be asked to pay a third of the penalty in 2015, two-thirds the year after and the full amount in 2017.

Companies which employ persons with disability will be eligible to a tax credit of €4,500 for each person employed.

In addition, the government will be setting an example by allocating €500,000 to a project which will see 80 persons with disability employed in a document scanning programme in Gozo.

Another measure announced by Scicluna will see the compulsory presence of a person with disability on a number of undisclosed government boards and authorities.

Garage sale

The Lands Department will next year launch a scheme which could see up to 2,400 garages in housing estates sold to tenants. The government will however hold on to the air space of the garages which are currently rented or leased.

Precarious work

New regulations will come into force in the coming weeks to address precarious work in the public sector. For the first time ever, the government will be ensuring that companies which are awarded government contracts need to guarantee conditions and wages enjoyed by public servants.

This could see more companies being blacklisted while workers sub-contracted on government projects will be paid at the same rate as public sector workers.

Skill cards will be introduced in the construction industry which will see ETC and MCAST certifying the abilities of workers. While acknowledging that this will be a protracted process, no deadline was given for the scheme, which should regulate the sector and address the exploitation of workers.  

More in Budget 2015