Executive Council met today with two items on the open agenda. The first item concerned the draft Primary and Secondary Legislative Programmes. Council was asked to advise whether these Programmes should be approved for publication and to identify what further prioritisation of the legislation identified as a top priority, should be considered. In discussing this item, members were mindful of the capacity constraints within the Attorney General's Chambers and were keen to emphasise that any prioritisation of the programmes should also be capable of being delivered within a reasonable timeframe. Members agreed that the programmes should be published and that the items on the programme should be prioritised by the appropriate Council Committees.
Council then went on to consider a request to increase the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) in line with the current policy which will increase weekly payments for Basic Island Pension and Income Related Benefits. Members were also asked to advise whether the Social Security (Amendment No. 2) Regulations should be approved and be effective from 30 November 2018.
The MIS includes the following;
a. Food & drink, based on healthy international diet guidelines and local menus;
c. Clothing and shoes;
d. Essential items e.g. cups, washing up liquid
f. Bus fares
Members noted that the proposal will see an increase in the MIS of 1.62% which is Pound 1.10. This increase provides an uplift which is greater than general price inflation. Members questioned whether the increase took account of price changes and were informed that previous changes have been incorporated including increased freight charges and the reduction in custom duties on certain items. Recent changes however, including the latest freight charges will be factored into the next review.
Members advised the Governor that they were content to approve the proposed changes, noting that this would go some way towards supporting the more vulnerable members of society. They were also happy to approve an ex gratia payment to be backdated to the 1 November 2018.
Source: St Helena Government