System to calculate inflation to be updated next year: minister
The system used to gauge inflation will be updated next year as part of a ten-year cycle, the Labour and Economy Minister said yesterday.
Jason Hayward also rejected suggestions that the basket of goods used to weigh price increases had not been changed in nine years so that the real scale of price rises was hidden.
Mr Hayward indicated that the system would be updated next year as he said copying moves by countries such as Britain to revamp the staple of goods used to give a better snapshot of price increases was unnecessary.
Mr Hayward did not address questions as to why, as happens in Britain, the choice of goods used to measure inflation could not be changed on a more regular basis.
The minister said: “The basket of goods does not get revised on an annual basis because the inflation numbers are used as benchmarks for other economic indicators.
“And so, in order to have a constant source of economic data you will not revise the basket of goods on an annual basis.
The minister sidestepped the issue of whether the Government would support an emergency summit on the cost-of-living crisis within 30 days as proposed by Chris Furbert, the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union.
Mr Hayward said: “The Government is committed to addressing the cost of living.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for the Cost of Living Commission, who will recommend strategies as to how we tackle the cost of living.
“The cost of living has been an ongoing concern for this Government and we are committed to addressing the high cost of living in Bermuda.”
The comments come after Mr Furbert said that urgent action was needed to cut household expenses by at least 20 per cent.
The union chief accused successive governments of not giving the issue the attention it needed.
He said: “An emergency summit needs to be held in the next 30 days. All stakeholders, including the Government, should take part so that all the stakeholders can figure out what to do.”
A notice appeared in the Official Gazette on March 28 this year detailing the members of the Cost of Living Commission.
The chairman is Derrick Burgess and other members are: Anthony Santucci, Thomas Christopher Famous, Lauren Bell, Tammy Butterfield, Zina Darrell and the Reverend Nicholas Tweed.