OBA questions inflation rate as senators pass pension increase
Seniors will receive a 2.75 per cent increase in their contributory pension payments under an order passed in the Senate yesterday.
The Contributory Pensions (Amendment of Benefits) Order 2022 was debated and approved with no objections.
However, one Opposition senator questioned the Government’s assertion that the increases “outpace the cost of living”.
Douglas DeCouto, the shadow economic development minister, said: “To be frank, everyone recognises that the cost of living is far outpacing what we are officially reporting in Bermuda.
“In reality while it will be welcomed by seniors … it is not going to be sufficient.”
He asked Arianna Hodgson, the Junior Finance Minister, who read the Bill, what measures the Government was taking to “arrive at a more realistic Consumer Price Index that matches what people are feeling in their wallets today”.
Ms Hodgson said: “Given that there is no appropriate answer to that question, I would like to proceed”, at which point she confirmed that the Bill had been approved in the Senate.
Michelle Simmons, an independent senator and the vice-president in the Senate, said: “Even though it is not a huge increase in the pension, I think it will be welcomed by the seniors who are facing some very, very tough times during this period of economic challenge.
“Taking the whole picture into consideration, I think government has stepped forward in a positive way to try to recognise that this support for seniors, and I am included in this, will be received in a positive way.
“I hope that government will continue to follow up on its efforts to do something about the cost of living in Bermuda. A big part of that is the work that is being done towards the development of a living wage.”
The order will see payments to seniors boosted by 2.75 per cent, with the increase backdated by almost one year.
It states that the increase will take basic contributory pensions from $1,077.14 a month to $1,106.75, and the maximum contributory pension from $1,564.18 to $1,607.19 per month.