Executive Council met today to discuss the Appropriation Bill, 2019.
Council approved the Appropriation Bill 2019, which provides for public services for the financial year 2019/20, to stand as Government business during the Budget Session at the next formal meeting of Legislative Council to be held on Monday, 25 March 2019.
The Budget Session will commence with the Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary. The Motion will be adjourned until Thursday, 28 March 2019, when Legislative Council will respond to the Financial Secretary’s speech and debate the proposed Budget.
The Budget proposes public expenditure of £46.056 million, an increase in public spending by £5.29 million (14.5%) over this current financial year.
The core Financial Aid package from DFID has increased by £1.19 million to £28.29 million. In addition, for the next financial year SHG has adopted the St Helena Airport operational costs – a total estimated spend of £3.5 million – into the recurrent budget which has previously been funded by DFID through Airport Project funding.
With the increase in DFID Financial Aid planned for next year this means that DFID’s contribution to the recurrent budget of SHG is now 69%.
The Government Budget is proposed to be funded as follows:
- Customs revenue of £6.0 million
- Income Tax revenue of £5.1 million
- DFID Financial Aid of up to £31.8 million
- Other local revenue of £2.8 million
- FCO CSSF funding support of up to £0.3 million
Key elements of the Budget
The proposed Budget will see an increase in funding for Emergency Services of £258,000. The establishment of the new Contact Support Centre accounts for a significant proportion of this additional funding. However, there are proposed increases in budgets for the Fire & Rescue, Immigration and Sea Rescue Services.
An increase is also proposed for Corporate Finance of £310,000 mainly under Payments on behalf of the Crown for an increase in subsidy for the St Helena Fisheries Corporation of up to £350,000 for the financial year and for a subsidy for St Helena Hotel Development Ltd for the running costs of the SHG owned Mantis St Helena Hotel of up to £200,000.
The proposed Budget will see an overall reduction in the recurrent budget for Health of £128,000. Having undertaken a review of spending on overseas medical treatment and the aero-medical evacuation budgets in this financial year and based on current trend and analysis, it is proposed to reduce the aero-medical evacuation budget by £300,000 and overseas medical treatment budget by £200,000. However, this has been countered by a proposed increase in the Health core budget for the year.
A substantial structure change included within the proposed Budget this year is the split of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate into two separate Directorates – Environment, Natural Resources & Planning and Infrastructure & Transport. A new Head of Expenditure has also been created entitled Access and will cover the costs associated with the transportation of cargo from Rupert’s to Jamestown, the operational costs of St Helena Airport and the Airport Contracts Management Unit.
The Budget for Income Related Benefits and Basic Island Pension (BIP) is proposed to increase by £204,000 recognising the projected rate of inflation over the coming year and the projected increase in the number of people becoming eligible for BIP.
Further details of what is included in the proposed Government Budget for the financial year 2019/20 can be found in the Annual Estimates 2019/20 which will shortly be available on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/finance/
18 March 2019