Financial Secretary Colin Owen this morning delivered his third Budget Speech for St Helena, following agreement of the BAM budget settlement with DFID on 23 March 2015. The settlement sees DFID continue to support SHG’s recurrent expenditure at the same level of last year, £13.55m.  DFID has, in addition, allocated £1.2m to support safeguarding. Improving the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is a priority for SHG.

DFID will continue to subsidise the running of the RMS St Helena.  The subsidy for 2015/16 is expected to be £2.68m, reflecting increased use of the RMS and the lower cost of fuel.

Total support provided by DFID for 2015/16 will be £19.43m, including TC funding.

The budget speech outlined significant increases in expenditure and increases in revenue through a number of tax changes.

Highlights from the speech included:

  • Total expenditure for 2015/16 of just over £32 million
  • Increased funding for priority areas, including an additional £252K for Health, an increase of over £944k in the past two years
  • An additional £1.2m for the new Safeguarding services
  • A further £326k allocated to the Police and Fire Service, reflecting the investment in front line services required for Airport certification and operations
  • £6.5m from DFID to be spent on Capital Infrastructure Projects in 2015/16
  • Tobacco duty for the second year running is increased by 5%
  • Duty on all alcohol imports increase by 3%
  • Full equalisation of duty achieved ahead of time on diesel and petrol at 39p per litre
  • Liquor duty increased to £4 per litre
  • Duty on each takeaway styrofoam box and plastic shopping bag increases to 10p
  • Increase in the basic level of income tax to 26%
  • Introduction of a higher rate of tax at 31% for income over £25,000

Colin Owen commented:

‘We have introduced a number of changes in this year’s budget which will not be appreciated by all, but the changes are being made for good of the nation rather than just the individual. This will allow us to put additional monies into areas such as benefits and further improve our Health Service’.

The full Budget Speech is available on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/finace/

BUDGET SPEECH 2015 16

SHG

27 March 2015

Following a recent road traffic accident, the Highway Authority has approved the closure of the Seaview Road from Gordon’s Post to Corner of the Wall Junction (the Briars/Constitution Road) on Sunday 29 March 2015. This is necessary to repair the damage to the wall at Button-Up Corner.

The road will be closed from 8am until 2pm and during this time diversions will be in place.

The Roads Section would like to apologise for any inconvenience this closure may cause, and thank the public in advance for their continued understanding and cooperation.

SHG

25 March 2015

Councillor Lawson Henry returned to the Island on Tuesday 10 March 2015, having attended a series of trilateral meetings, the Ministerial Conference and the 13th OCT-EU Forum (Overseas Countries and Territories – European Union) in the British Virgin Islands from 25-27 February 2015. Councillor Henry was accompanied at these meetings by SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, and Tristan UK Representative, Chris Carnegy.

A wide range of topics were discussed ranging from unlocking the value of the OCTs, sustainable use of natural resources, renewable energy, climate change and disaster risk reduction. For the first time, Joint Conclusions from the OCT-EU Forum were also agreed by OCTs, the European Commission and Member States.

Renewable Energy, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Reduction were agreed as the themes for the Thematic Budget line under the 11th European Development Fund -which St Helena will be able to access in addition to the Territorial Allocation.

Ministerial Conference Group Photo
Ministerial Conference Group Photo

Councillor Henry found it very useful attending these meetings, both for the discussion and for networking with colleagues from other territories with similar issues to St Helena – hearing how they are working towards overcoming some of these issues.

Councillor Henry commented:

“This was the second time I have been nominated to attend this forum and was thus better placed to understand how the EU works with the Territories – the more knowledge we gain the stronger St Helena can be represented at future forums.

 “We receive substantial funding from the EU which is very important to St Helena. It is only right that we attend these forums to account for how we are spending the funds and reporting the difference these projects make to residents’ lives.”

 Councillor Henry also had the opportunity to meet the new Commissioner responsible for International Development and Cooperation, as well as witnessing the unanimous vote for SHG’s UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, as President of the OCTA Executive Committee (a separate press release will issue shortly on Kedell’s election).

Councillor Henry concluded:

“I always feel very honoured to be representing the Island and am grateful to my colleagues for having the confidence in nominating me.  I must of course mention the support from Officers in SHG but also from our UK Representative, Mrs Kedell Worboys MBE. I would also like to mention too that we had the privilege of having Tristan’s new Representative, Mr Chris Carnegy attend, as part of the St Helena delegation and I would like to pay tribute to him for his support.”

SHG

24 March 2015

 

 

A formal meeting of Legislative Council will take place this Friday, 27 March 2015, at 10am in the Court House, Jamestown. The meeting is expected to last two days, continuing on Monday 30 March 2015.

The main purpose of the meeting will be the Budget Session when the Financial Secretary will make his Budget Speech to Legislative Council. Ten Sessional Papers, including two Bills for an Ordinance – The Appropriation Bill, 2015 and the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2015 – will be presented in the House along with fourteen questions and five Motions on Friday.  Five questions will be asked on Monday.

The Order Paper is available on the SHG website at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/committee-reports/

The meeting will conclude with the customary Adjournment Debate, when Councillors will have the opportunity to raise various issues relating to St Helena.

The last formal meeting of Legislative Council took place on 23 January 2015.

SHG

24 March 2015

 

 

A Parents Protect Awareness Session will be held at the Jamestown Community Centre tomorrow evening, Tuesday 24 March 2015, starting at 7pm. This particular session, for parents, carers and other adults of Pilling Primary School, centres around a 90-minute presentation.

The Safeguarding Directorate, in conjunction with the Police, has been organising these sessions since December 2014 on St Helena and Ascension Island.

The presentation raises public awareness of child sexual abuse and provides positive messages about what can be done to protect children. The session focuses on dispelling common myths about child sex offences and offenders, while at the same time providing parents and carers with sound information which will help them to keep their children safe.

The presentation also offers a better understanding of how convicted sex offenders are managed by the Police, probation and other statutory and voluntary bodies on release into the community.

SHG

23 March 2015

The final rock blast for the St Helena Airport Project took place at the Airport site, Prosperous Bay Plain, at 5.20pm on Friday 20 March 2015. The final blast was carried out as part of creating safer slopes in an existing borrow pit near the Navigational Directional Beacon site on the eastern side of the Runway. The final blast used 975kgs of explosives and yielded approximately 3700 tonnes of blasted rock.

Final Blast with Runway in foreground - 20 Mar 2015
Final Blast with Runway in foreground – 20 Mar 2015

The operation went well, achieved its objective, and marked three years of safe and efficient blasting from the Basil Read Blasting Team and the end of all blasting operations required for the Airport Project.

A total of 383 controlled explosions have taken place for the Airport Project with no safety or misfire incidents.

Basil Read’s Production Manager, Deon Robbertse, paid tribute to Blasting Supervisor, Alan Hudson and his team. He said:

“The Blasting Team has been an integral part of the Airport Project and directly responsible for us to move over 10million m3 of material to create a safe and usable Access Road, complete all the fills including Dry Gut and getting the Runway to the right level.”

A photo of the blast is attached to this press release.

SHG

23 March 2015

As is normal, there will be some limitations to accessing the Wharf on Maundy Thursday, 2 April 2015.

Access for vehicles will be restricted unless authorised by Port Control. Only pedestrians will be able to access the lower Wharf area.

At this time break-bulk cargo will be stored at the lower end of the Wharf and security officers will be on patrol. Members of the public will be allowed to drop off or pick up fishing equipment etc before returning their vehicle to the car parking area, beyond the Port Control barrier.

Port Control would like to take this opportunity to thank the public in advance for their cooperation.

‘HAPPY FISHING’.

SHG

23 March 2015

The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2015 will be presented at the next Formal Session of Legislative Council, on Friday, 27 March 2015.

This Bill seeks approval to amend the Income Tax Ordinance 2012, to adjust the tax rates, introduce a higher rate tax band and to introduce tax on dividends.

In the lead up to the Formal Legislative Council Session next week, it is planned to hold an Information Session on the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, with employers and other interested parties, on Wednesday, 25 March 2015, at the Information Centre in the Canister, starting at 4pm. 

It is also planned to hold separate information sessions via local radio.

The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2015 can be viewed on the St Helena Government Website at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/

SHG

18 March 2015

Basil Read’s Certification & Operational Readiness Manager, Simon Walker, arrived on St Helena, today Tuesday 17 March 2015, to discuss plans for Airport Certification and Operational Readiness.

Simon is a familiar face to the St Helena Airport Project, having previously provided aviation advice to DFID and SHG.

In his new role, Simon joins the team in Basil Read working on Airport Certification.  During his visit, Simon will work closely with Basil Read, the Project Management Unit and the SHG Access Office to review key responsibilities and tasks required for Airport Certification and the operation of the Airport.

Further details on Simon’s visit and work programme will be published in the March Airport Update.

Simon will depart the Island on Wednesday 1 April 2015.

 SHG

17 March 2015