Help promised for Bermudan families struggling with food price rises

By Rumi Samuel Published on June 20, 2022
Help promised for Bermudan families struggling with food price rises

Bermuda’s Premier and Finance Minister David Burt has promised that help is on the way for families struggling to cope with increases in food prices.

Burt said his cabinet will discuss a financial support package in the coming week but urged residents to be “wise with their spending choices.”

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, the premier 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 risen 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 spareribs increased by 28 per cent in one year,” he told fellow legislators.

He also said rising interest rates meant Bermudians would pay 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 being prepared by the Ministry of Finance and will be discussed at the cabinet's next meeting.”

But he said the government is restricted in what it can do to assist the needy, and people will 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.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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