New month, new rules: no more gambling without ID, funding for Ukranian pupils, renovation premiums and more

As always, the begining of a new month in Belgium brings with it a series of changes: new rules, regulations and initiatives. From October 1st onwards, among other things, gambling will no longer be allowed without a valid proof of identity, schools taking in Ukrainian pupils will get extra funding, and people affected by the energy crisis can get payment extensions for their home loans under certain conditions.

A complete overview of changes going into effect at the beginning of October, some on the federal (national) level and some regionally (Flanders or Brussels):

Gambling will no longer be possible without presenting proof of identity. This is one of several measures taken by federal Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne in the fight against the increasing number of gambling addictions.

All over-18s in Brussels can get their autumn booster vaccine against the coronavirus, from October onwards, without an appointment.

The average 'social tariff' for electricity will increase by 7,8 percent and for natural gas by 9,9 percent. The social rate is a reduced rate for certain categories of persons or households, for example people entitled to a living wage, occupants of social housing or elderly people with income guarantee. The tariff is the same among all energy suppliers, and is set every three months by CREG (the Belgian federal Electricity and Gas Regulatory Commission, ed.).

Extra staff members will take over tasks from teachers, who can then focus fully on their core task.

Schools that receive additional enrolments of Ukrainian pupils (or other non-native newcomers) will receive additional funds for this purpose. To get a complete overview of the number of newcomers, the Flemish government's eductation ministry will organise an additional census day on October 1st.

Furthermore, Flemish schools can appoint additionl staff members, starting October 1st, if there is a shortage of teaching staff. The idea is that extra staff members will take over tasks from teachers, who can then focus fully on their core task.

People will be able to apply online for "My Renovation Premium", a unified premium for renovations and energy-saving investments. Anyone who invests in an existing home or non-residential building, such as business premises or office buildings, in the Flemish Region can apply for financial support, depending on the target group they belong to.

Belgians affected by the energy crisis will be able to, under certain conditions, obtain payment deferral for their home loans from their banks. They will then have to make no capital repayments for a period of 12 months; however, they must continue to pay interest. Banking federation Febelfin does warn that the term of the loan will be extended by the duration of the payment extension.

Limited changes to the highway code will be introduced throughout Bellgium. These will include 'middle lanes' and allow municipalities to introduce alternate parking for certain categories of vehicles, e.g. cyclists and cars. A 'middle lane' becomes possible when a carriageway is not wide enough for a cycle lane in each direction. One lane will then be reserved for motor vehicles and on either side there will be a safe space for cyclists. Motorists should drive at appropriate speeds on the middle section.




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