Dunkley criticises 'exorbitant' food licence fee increase
United Bermuda Party Senator Michael Dunkley has criticised Government for hitting businesses in the pocket with an “exorbitant” food licence fee increase.
Sen Dunkley told the Upper House businesses would have no choice other than to raise prices after learning the annual Food Establishment Licence Fee has soared from $615 to $1,400 in some cases.
“I was amazed to see the scope of some of the increases,” said the former Opposition leader during the Motion to Adjourn.
“We are in the teeth of a terrible recession. Businesses from one end of the Island to the other are continuing to struggle to keep staff employed. Many businesses are struggling to stay open.
“Here we are, we see these exorbitant increases during very difficult times.
“It's highly likely the increases will be passed on and the consumer will end up paying the difference. It's going to hurt the consumer even more.
“I'm very concerned about another nail being put into the coffin of this recession. I think it's a bad move to make at this time.”
Sen Dunkley said his own business had found difficulty getting information on the scale of the rise from the Department of Health in recent weeks.
“A day-and-a-half before the licence expires, we still don't have the new licence,” he said.
Also during yesterday's Motion to Adjourn, Sen Dunkley noted the looming Census deadline of March 31.
This was put back from last August due to problems collecting data; at that time he had suggested March 31 could be too soon.
“With the barrage of radio and TV adverts, it appears there's still a lot more work to be done,” he said.