The Government’s social security benefits expenditure has continued its rapid increase, climbing by more than €27 million in the first three quarters of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Between January and September of this year, the Government spent €843.7 million on social security benefits, up from €816.5 million in the same period a year before, and €752.9 million the year before that.
The figures were made public by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Wednesday, and show that pensions were the key contributor to both the overall sum and to the increase.
In the first three quarters of 2021, €490.6 million was spent on pensions for retired people, up from €457.8 million a year earlier.
The sum of these payments exceeds that of all categories of other payment, including unemployment benefits (costing €1.6 million), and COVID parent benefit (costing €612,000).
However, retirement pensions also effected the most people, as more than 70,000 people were beneficiaries of these payments.
The figures also show that the Government’s expensive COVID related benefits have been significantly scaled down, falling to €612,000 from €14.5 million a year ago.
It is notable however, that the statistics do not include some of the most expensive support schemes offered by the Government to offset the impact of the pandemic, including the astronomically expensive wage support scheme.
Malta’s social security expenditure looks set to further rise in the coming months, as the Government Budget 2022 proposed raising pensions and increasing cost of living allowances.
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