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Premier expected to outline cost of living help in busy session of the House

David Burt, the Premier, and finance minister (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Financial initiatives aimed at trying to ease the cost of living crisis are expected to be being unveiled by David Burt, the Premier, in the House today.

Mr Burt, who is also finance minister, will outline a “Government relief package” after widespread demands for more action to help people in the face of soaring food and energy prices.

The initiative is expected to try to allay people’s fears over the rising costs of basic commodities.

So far, the main Government weapon against price hikes has been a gas price freeze, but fuel companies have warned the measure was “unsustainable”.

Despite official figures showing inflation at 2.5 per cent, many observers believe the true figure to be higher, with some food items rising by almost one third, according to the consumer price index.

The Premier is also expected to clarify the island’s position regarding interest rates as the Government this week redeemed some of the bonds which where coming due at the end of the year.

It is thought $500 million 2032 Senior Notes will replace two bonds with a value of $493.9 million.

The bonds that were coming due had rates of 5.73 per cent and 4.138 per cent.

The Government has already said that future rates are likely to be higher due to the international financial and economic situation.

And in an unusual, but not unprecedented move, it emerged MPs will meet in session at the in the House of Assembly on September 16 and 30, rather than waiting for the traditional return to Parliament for the Throne Speech in November.

The early return led to speculation it could be connected to a finalisation of the controversial deal with developers Gencom over the $376 million revamp of the Fairmont Southampton hotel complex.

Among other measures announced will be reform of the highly contentious Travel Authorisation system.

A senior source told The Royal Gazette: “It’s not going to go, but there will be relaxations around it.”

It what is likely to be a marathon session, other issues brought to MPs attention will be quango operational changes, and the Government quarry feasibility study.

Nursing home grant policy and an update on economic investment certificates will also feature.

Vance Campbell, tourism minister, will also inform MPs about the Bermuda Tourism Authority annual report 2021 and the BTA’s consolidated financial statements for the 12 months to December.

Mr Burt will also lay before the House the Supplementary Estimates for 2022/23 regarding the Public Treasury (Administration and Payments) (Supplemental Unemployment Benefit) Amendment.

MPs will also consider the contributory pensions temporary order 2021, the public service superannuation temporary order 2021, the economic substance amendment regulations 2021, and the guidelines for submitting applications for approved residential schemes.

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Published July 15, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated July 15, 2022 at 7:57 am)

Premier expected to outline cost of living help in busy session of the House

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