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/
27 March 2015