Burt stonewalls on where Budget axe will fall
The Premier yesterday refused to outline which public services would be cut in the Budget axe.
David Burt signalled a “significant amount of reductions in services” in last Friday’s Budget speech.
But Mr Burt, also the finance minister, yesterday avoided discussion of which areas would bear the brunt of the cuts.
He said he would leave the announcement of the details to individual ministers.
But Mr Burt added he did not believe education, healthcare, support for seniors or the security services would be hit.
Mr Burt told a press conference: “There were some difficult choices that needed to be made in order to meet our spending targets.
“The priorities of this Government are funded.
“So, education reform is funded … healthcare reform is funded … the security services are funded inside of this Budget.
“But there are going to have to be some reductions, some discontinuations of various programmes in order to meet the funding targets which have been put in place and I will let the ministers speak to that.”
He said, however: “What I do not think you are going to see is cuts in Financial Assistance.
“I do not believe you are going to see cuts in healthcare provision. You are not going to see cuts in support for our seniors.”
Mr Burt admitted: “There are difficult choices that were made in the Budget.
“But, in regard to across the board cuts or severe austerity that is not something you will find in this Budget.”
Mr Burt warned of public service cuts and a wage freeze in his Budget statement to the House of Assembly last week.
He told MPs: “The $945 million of current expenditure for the next fiscal year 2022-23 will still require a significant amount of reductions in services to meet that target.
“The reductions can be seen across the board where grants have been reduced in certain areas, services will have to be limited and hiring will be frozen.”