Poor and vulnerable citizens have been given special attention in the 2013/2014 Budget despite challenges currently being faced by the government of Saint Lucia to curtail expenditure and address the widening deficit.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has announced, that for the first time in Saint Lucia, parents of differently-abled children will, as a special category, receive government assistance to help care for their loved ones.
During his 2013/2014 Budget Address, delivered on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, the prime minister said: “There are many parents and families who seek to take care of our differently-abled children in our midst. It is not easy for these parents, financially or emotionally.
“After confirming the number of children involved, the government will give a grant of $200 per month per child to assist these parents to meet the cost of maintaining their differently-abled sons and daughters among us. This is a modest amount but it is a start to ease the distress of these families.”
Meanwhile, the amount given to citizens who are currently on the government’s public assistance programe will increase by approximately 25 percent to help these citizens mitigate the impact of a 50 percent decrease in subsidies on bulk flour, rice and brown sugar.
Dr. Anthony, who explained the need to revise these subsidies given sharp increases on the international market and an unchanged domestic price over the last 30 years, said that due consideration was given to the poor so as not to adversely increase their financial burden.
As such, the prime minister announced increases to the tune of $1.4 million under the Public Assistance Programme, effective June 1, 2013.
The revised rates are as follows:
Current Rate Revised Rate % Increase
$170 $215 26.4 percent
$225 $280 24.4 percent
$275 $340 23.6 percent
$315 $400 27.0 percent
$375 $465 24.0 percent
During the Budget Address, Dr. Anthony renewed his government’s commitment to providing jobs through the NICE programme, while continuing programmes such as STEP and HOPE which target unemployed and vulnerable citizens.
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