Finance Minister Colm Imbert has turned on the Christmas lights early — virtually with free LED bulbs- for the small man.

In his $53 billion budget presented yesterday in the House of Representatives, he brought cheer to low income groups as he increased the minimum wage from $15 to $17.50 an hour, from December 1, 2019, a measure designed to improve the salaries of an estimated 194,000 workers.

For CEPEP and URP, the minister’s Christmas gift was a 15 per cent wage increase from December 1, 2019. And for daily paid public service workers, he proposed a $3,500 pension for those “with an appropriate minimum length of service” which would take effect in 2020 and will ultimately be part of a contributory pension plan.

Trainees in the OJT programme were not forgotten as the minister increased the stipend by 10 per cent from December 1, 2019 and upped the intake to 8,000.