Today sees the publication on SHG’s website of the St Helena Social Welfare Review, a report by Roy Sainsbury and Jonathan Bradshaw of the University of York. The report is available at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/
The Review, carried out between August 2012 and April 2013, had two principal objectives:
- To provide recommendations for the next uprating of benefits on St Helena, and
- To review the benefits system as a whole and make recommendations
Commenting on the report, Paul McGinnety, Interim Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate, said:
‘The review and its recommendations are ambitious, especially when Governments around the world are looking to reduce benefits. For St Helena to introduce a Minimum Income Standard demonstrates the Island’s commitment to supporting vulnerable people.
‘It is particularly encouraging that we have worked as a community to develop an Island MIS and those members of the public who dedicated their time to this work deserve tremendous credit.’
Councillor Les Baldwin, Chairman of the Social and Community Development Committee, added:
‘I would like to thank all those who worked on and contributed to this Review and the resulting Social Policy Plan which were well received by Council and Government officials alike. We all recognise the difficulties of the vulnerable in our society, and although many of the recommendations are ambitious they are not unachievable.
‘Evidence of this is the introduction of a Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for the uprating of pensions and social benefits, seeing St Helena becoming one of the first countries in the world to apply this methodology. Work has already begun towards a plan of implementation for other recommendations over the next five years, beginning with Child Benefit for those aged five or under.’
Director of Strategic Policy & Planning, Susan O’Bey, concluded:
‘This review has taken place just two years after the new benefit system was introduced in 2011. It addresses a number of issues which have been raised by Councillors and by members of the public and the recent announcement on the increase in IRB and BIP is a direct result of this work.
‘The report contains a number of recommendations which will be discussed by Councillors in the coming months. Some of these are about improving operational aspects of the system and can be put in place quite quickly. Others are much more ambitious and will be implemented over a much longer timeframe.’
22 November 2013