Advocate for seniors says Budget appears to focus on young people
Bermuda’s seniors gained little in Premier Paula Cox’s Budget for the coming fiscal year.
So believes former Bermuda Council on Ageing head Marian Sherratt.
She said she agreed with the rollback announced by the Premier on land tax and vehicle licence schemes because of the state of the economy.
However there is very little in the Budget geared towards helping seniors through the difficult financial period, Mrs Sherratt added.
“Overall, there is nothing in this new Budget for seniors that I can see, other than the new eligibility for financial assistance for seniors who own a home up to value $1 million,” she said.
“On a personal level, this raises questions for me Who values the home? What other criteria are considered and why should taxpayers pay for seniors when/if the family then inherits the property free and clear?
“Shouldn’t there be some kind of lien against the property that is satisfied either by repayment by family members or at the time the estate is settled?”
And while Premier Paula Cox has said repeatedly that job creation is a priority, Ms Sherratt said that the focus appeared to be on young people, rather than older workers,
“Sadly, there is nothing in this Budget that addresses the fragility of social insurance and pension income for seniors, just more debt and more interest payments that further undermine the economy,” she said.
“[There is also nothing to address] the rising costs of daily living, especially healthcare, at a time of shrinking income for seniors, or the lack of job opportunities for the older worker, while this budget is heavily weighted toward young people through education, training, and recreation.”
In her Budget Statement last week, Ms Cox announced seniors who owned property valued at $1 million or more, would have to pay land tax. They had previously been exempt.
She also announced that seniors who owned cars with a length exceeding 156in (class E and above) would now have to pay to have the vehicle licensed.
The revisions are hoped to increase Government revenue by around $7 million, with $4 million recovered in land tax and $3 million in vehicle licences.
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