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Senators support Bill extending benefits beyond seven years

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Leslie Robinson, the Junior Minister for Economy and Labour, and Public Works (Photograph supplied)
Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance senator (File Photograph)

Senators have backed a Bill that will extend the period of financial assistance for those whose benefits come to a close after a seven-year period.

There were no objections in the Senate today to the passing of the Financial Assistance Amendment Act 2023, which will allow for ongoing yet reduced benefit allowances, including a standard room rate, a food allowance and health insurance coverage.

Leslie Robinson, Junior Minister for Economy and Labour, and Public Works, read the Bill. Under its terms, 19 people are eligible to claim.

Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance senator, said it was important to strike a balance between supporting society’s most vulnerable and safeguarding the system from abuse.

She said: “I’m worried that the Government may be laying a foundation that could lead to unintended dependency on the system for some people. We have heard stories of persons who skirt the system … speaking broadly and generally, it could happen.

“We have to make sure we have protections in place.”

She added that the Government must also ensure it was providing quality childcare, improving the education system and addressing the cost of living.

Ms Robinson said: “The benefits are there for people in need we are mindful of dependency and we will focus on empowering the individuals in the systems.”

Ms Robinson said that while there were only 19 people eligible for the extended benefits now, the number would be fluid as more enter and leave the system. She promised to provide updates as and when new figures became available.

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Published June 07, 2023 at 3:15 pm (Updated June 09, 2023 at 9:03 pm)

Senators support Bill extending benefits beyond seven years

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