Sat | Jun 25, 2022

Gov’t to help Bermudan families struggling with rising food prices

Published:Sunday | June 19, 2022 | 10:59 AM
Bermuda's Premier David Burt. - Contributed photo.

HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – Premier and Finance Minister David Burt has promised that help is on the way for families struggling to cope with rising food prices.

Burt said a financial support package would be discussed by his Cabinet in the coming week, but urged residents to be “wise with their spending choices”.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, he told the House of Assembly that laws were passed in 2020 but are only being brought into force now.

He added that this would also require retailers to publish the prices of essential commodities.

Burt said the support being considered would be brought to the House before July 15.

He admitted that although the official statistics said food prices had gone up by five per cent in the past year, many items had increased by as much as five times that amount.

“An example is in January, it was reported that frozen spare ribs increased by 28 per cent in one year,” he told legislators.

He also said rising interest rates meant that Bermudians would be paying more for loans and mortgages, “further squeezing household budgets”.

“Before the House rises on July 15, the government will bring to this honourable House a comprehensive package to tackle challenges faced by the increasing cost of food that will provide additional support to the many Bermudians who require assistance to make ends meet.

“This package is currently being prepared by the Ministry of Finance, and will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet.”

But, he said the government was restricted in what it could do to assist the needy and people would have to help themselves.

“There are limits to the support that the government can provide, as it is vital for Bermuda's economic future that the government meets its budget targets.

“With global inflation set to continue for the foreseeable future and with a growing number of economists predicting a recession in the world's largest economy – and our largest trading partner the United States – all residents must be wise with their spending choices.”

Bermuda, which imports most of its goods, currently has a national debt of US$3.1 billion.

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