€80m in EU funds earmarked for 2024 use / Malta News Briefing – Friday 3 November 2023

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€80m in EU funds earmarked for 2024 use

Next year Malta is set to use some €80 million in European funds for various projects and initiatives. This financial injection is made possible through the European Union cohesion funds Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonett has outlined the intended allocation of these European funds, which will be directed toward bolstering businesses, facilitating the shift towards a more environmentally friendly economy, supporting the digital transformation, enhancing human resources through local and foreign investments, and cultivating a skilled workforce proficient in both established and emerging sectors. Some of the projects that will benefit from European funding include the construction of a second interconnector linking Malta and Sicily. Additionally, €8.4 million have been earmarked for Project Green, focused on creating green spaces and infrastructure development. Moreover, Business Enhance schemes tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to generate a €40 million investment from EU funds in 2024. Subsidised loans will further stimulate over €60 million in SME investments through the Invest EU program, which has a budget of €16.5 million. (TVM)

Man injured in Gżira during early-morning shooting

According to the police, a man sustained severe injuries when he was shot in the foot after a brawl at an establishment in Gzira. This incident occurred at 1 am on Friday on the Strand. Reportedly, a confrontation unfolded within a bar involving one man and two others. The altercation spilled outside the establishment, and it was at this point that a firearm was discharged. The lone individual was struck in the foot, while the assailant and his companion fled the scene. The injured man was promptly transported to the hospital due to the seriousness of his injuries. An inquiry led by Magistrate Victor Axiaq is currently underway. (The Malta Independent)

Former Labour MP interrogated on benefits scandal

Labour MP Silvio Grixti was summoned for police questioning on Thursday afternoon regarding his involvement in the disability benefit scandal that came to light in September. This marks the second occasion on which Grixti has been subject to police questioning, as he was previously interviewed by law enforcement in 2021. According to reports, the police obtained a statement from Grixti during this recent interrogation session. Grixti is alleged to have provided fraudulent medical documentation to aid individuals, often residing in strongholds of the Labour Party such as Żabbar, Żejtun, and Paola, in wrongfully obtaining monthly social benefits intended for severe disabilities they did not genuinely suffer from. (Maltatoday)

Morning Briefing

Budget is clear commitment in favour of elderly – PM

Prime Minister Robert Abela emphasized that the 2024 budget demonstrates a commitment to fairness for pensioners, with measures that have been devised in collaboration with the elderly community themselves, tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. While visiting the Day Centre in Birkirkara, he underscored that these budget measures are geared towards ensuring a high quality of life for the elderly and providing support that enables them to continue residing in the various villages and towns across Malta and Gozo. As a result of these measures, there will be a notable increase of €780 in the pension payments, marking the most significant annual increment for pensioners. Additionally, he highlighted the expansion of the Carer at Home scheme, which has been raised from €7,000 to €8,000. This enhancement will result in an increase in grants for elderly individuals who continue to reside either at home or in nursing homes for which they bear the full cost, benefiting 48,000 seniors and involving an investment of €16 million.

PN calls for resignation of Justice Minister after judges say court system is collapsing

The PN has demanded the resignation of Justice Minister Jonathan Attard in response to warnings from magistrates and judges about the imminent collapse of the court system. Shadow Justice Minister Karol Aquilina accused Attard of neglecting to address the “grave issues plaguing the justice system” and instead placing blame elsewhere. The PN stated that if Attard does not step down, the Prime Minister should dismiss him from his position. This call for Attard’s resignation follows criticism from the Association of the Maltese Judiciary, which pointed out “persistent shortcomings” by authorities in addressing staffing and other court-related issues. The association emphasized that without sufficient resources, the court system would be unable to deliver timely justice. (Times of Malta)

Almost half of first-time buyers spent between €150,000 and €250,000

An analysis conducted by the Housing Authority has revealed that the majority of participants in the first-time buyers scheme opt for purchasing apartments in their local area, with nearly half of them acquiring properties in the price range of €150,000 to €250,000. This assessment aims to gain a deeper understanding of the characteristics of first-time buyers (FTBs) in Malta, following the introduction of a new one-time grant of €10,000, disbursed over ten years, which was initiated in 2023. This program was established to relieve financial pressures on FTBs and enhance their purchasing capacity, simultaneously offering the Housing Authority valuable insights into the demographic composition of FTBs in Malta. (Newsbook)

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