Executive Council met today, Tuesday 31 March 2015, with six items on the Open Agenda.
The first item was to seek approval to publish a Bill for an Ordinance to amend the Legislative Council (Remuneration and Allowances) Ordinance 2010, to give effect to the recommendation made by the Independent Commission that was appointed to review the current remuneration paid to Members of Legislative Council. The Commission had recommended that Deputy Chairs of Council Committees should be paid an additional £500 per annum to compensate them for the extra duties they undertake. Council agreed that the Bill should be published and presented to the next formal Legislative Council meeting with a view to this increase becoming effective from July 2015.
The second item was to seek approval for the introduction of a minimum five days paid annual leave and five days paid sick leave to be incorporated in the Employment Rights Regulations 2015, effective from 1 April 2015. This was approved by ExCo.
For the third item, Council agreed the lease arrangements for Bertrand’s Cottage to Enterprise St Helena. This will enable the hospitality training base currently at No. 2 Main Street to be transferred to potentially more appropriate accommodation. It will also allow for the refurbishment and maintenance of an established Grade 2 listed building. Works should be completed by February 2016.
Executive Council also agreed the recommendation of the Employment Rights Committee to increase the current minimum hourly wage of £2.30 to £2.60 for those over 18 years of age, and from £1.45 to £1.65 for those aged 16 and 17 years. This will become effective from 1 July 2015.
ExCo also agreed to increase the rate of Basic Island Pension and Income Related Benefits to the new Minimum Income Standard. The basic level of IRB for a first householder will increase from £51.64 to £54.90 per week, and people on BIP with a full complement of years worked will see an increase from £53.53 to £56.80 per week.
An item on an amendment to the Extra-Statutory Concession 2014 for charities in respect of Withholding Tax will be dealt with directly between officials and the party concerned.
For the final item, Executive Council considered the Capital Expenditure Programme for 2015/16, acknowledging the contractual commitments and bringing forward £1.5 million from 2016/17, as agreed with DFID. Further discussion will be held on prioritisation of the remaining Capital Programme budget.
Under Any Other Business, and as agreed at a recent constituency meeting held at Half Tree Hollow, the new prison proposed at Half Tree Hollow was discussed. Executive Council confirmed its earlier decision for the project to go ahead and recommended that the Prison Liaison Officer facilitate ongoing engagement with residents, as previously agreed.
It was also noted that the Honourable Derek Thomas will depart the Island on 7 April 2015 to attend the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to be held in Malaysia, returning on 4 May 2015. Members wished him a successful conference.
On behalf of Legislative Council, Executive Council would like to wish the public a happy Easter period.
31 March 2015