Saint Lucia to increase child disability and foster care grants; expand public assistance

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Saint Lucia to increase child disability and foster care grants; expand public assistance
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

(PRESS RELEASE) — The Strengthening Social Protection Systems formed a key part of the Budget presentation by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Allen Chastanet, as he announced several measures to bring some relief to the most vulnerable in our society.

Among the actions the prime minister announced was that government would reduce the electricity bills of qualifying households from between $50 and $100 per month. This will be done through the reduction in electricity fuel surcharge for a six-month period which is expected to generate savings.

This and other measures are part of the Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan and also includes specific measures for this financial year including the expansion of the Public Assistance Cash Transfer Programme from 2,600 households to 3,600 households.

The prime minister also announced an increase in the Child Disability Grant from $200 to $300, an increase in the grant for persons living with HIV from $100 to $200 and an increase in the grant for children in foster care from $200 to $300.

The government has announced the provision of COVID-19 hygiene care packages for the poor and vulnerable, micro-finance loans to households to diversify into micro small enterprise and cottage industries and small infrastructure projects within the rural community.

In his Budget Address, the prime minister also spoke to the Disability Assessment Project launched in 2019 to examine the barriers and enablers to the full participation of persons with disabilities in society.

“The project will also assist in identifying strategic priority areas, programmes and initiatives in support of the holistic development of persons with disabilities,” stated Prime Minister Chastanet. “The findings of this study will, among other things, assist in mainstreaming support for persons with any form of disability in our social protection programmes. For instance, the study will advise on the utility of the continued administration of a disability grant in the amount of $200 per month, to persons below the age of 21 with a disability. We recognize that more attention must be paid to facilitating the empowerment of persons with disabilities in this country.” — SOURCE: Office of the Prime Minister

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