50% increase to those receiving public assistance

by Linda Straker

  • As of July, persons on the public assistance programmes will receive a 50% increase
  • Public assistance for the elderly from EC$200 to EC$300
  • Personal income tax reduced by 5%

A government minister has confirmed that the Cabinet has agreed that as of July, persons on the public assistance programmes will receive a 50% increase as was tentatively promised by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell when he presented the 2018 budget.

“Government has made a commitment that should the fiscal space permit, we are going to look at some additional benefits for citizens, and I am happy to say this morning that Cabinet has taken a decision that we are going to increase the senior citizens’ allowance between July and August of this year from EC$200 to EC$300;” said Education Minister Emmalin Pierre when she hosted the Post Cabinet briefing on Tuesday.

When Dr Mitchell presented the 2018 budget in November he said that by June 2018, “if the fiscal space allows, we will consider a number of measures, aimed at bringing fiscal relief and generating more disposable income in the hands of our people.”

He said that these measures will include increase the public assistance for the elderly from EC$200 to EC$300 as well as reducing the rate of personal income tax by 5%; reducing corporate income tax from 30 to 25% to encourage businesses to keep investing and repaving the Grand Anse to St George’s road, and other roads.

Pierre said that the cabinet priority is with the elderly and gave the assurance that the other commitment “will be spoken on a future date.”

The fiscal responsibility legislation which is one of the new legislations adopted as part of the Homegrown Structural Adjustment Programmes provides for government to receive parliamentary approval when making any changes to budget allocation.

This shall be done during a midyear review and it therefore means that government must present supplementary budget allocations to receive the approval of both houses of the Parliament before any changes to existing budgetary allocation.

In the absence of that the parliamentary approval it will be deemed a violation of the fiscal responsibility legislation.

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