MINISTER BROOKS DELIVERS 2022/23 BUDGET SPEECH
The Minister for Treasury, Infrastructure & Sustainable Development, Mark Brooks, today, Friday 13 May 2022, delivered the 2022/23 Budget Speech for St Helena and marked the beginning of the first budget session in Legislative Council under the new Ministerial Government. A copy of the Budget speech is available online here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Budget-Speech-2022.pdf.
In his opening remarks, Minister Brooks said:
“Madam Deputy Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to be able to present the Appropriation Bill 2022, the first budget for St Helena under the new Ministerial Government. This budget sets us on a path to use the limited resources afforded to build a foundation in order to achieve our Vision that was published in March this year.
“At the heart of our Vision, there are three main dimensions: our environment, our economy and our social obligations. To enable us to achieve our Vision, our priority policies will focus on targeted areas, which are instrumental if we are to address our current challenges.”
The Budget presented today is the product of collaborative working between Ministers, Government Officials and other key stakeholders, including the UK Government.
The Budget is presented following agreement of the Financial Aid settlement of £31.79 million which is a flat line settlement compared to the previous year. In his Budget Speech, Minister Brooks expressed gratitude to Her Majesty’s Government for their continued support to St Helena through Financial Aid.
The Minister stated that:
“This budget aligns our spending with our policy priorities in order to achieve our goals as set out in the Ten Year Plan – whether that be the development of new infrastructure, changes to laws and regulation, or the targeting of incentives to the most productive sectors of the economy.
“This budget also outlines plans to generate new revenue streams, which will be key to enable our Island to achieve its goals.”
In concluding his Budget Speech, Minister Brooks said:
“My budget speech comes at a time of both hope and uncertainty, maybe more leaning towards uncertainty, but in this last section of my first budget speech, hope is where I’ll start and finish.
“We will endeavour to accelerate economic stimulus and growth, focus on targeted projects offering opportunities for investment which meets the needs of tomorrow,
Madam Deputy Speaker for the hope of our people and the generations of tomorrow, we must move towards self-determined priorities whenever we have an opportunity to do so.”
The Motion to consider the Appropriation Bill 2022 now stands adjourned until Monday, 16 May 2022, when the details of the Bill will be debated by Legislative Council.
Highlights from the 2022/23 Budget Speech include:
Public Sector Spending
Total public spending is planned to be just over £44.7 million in this financial year, representing a net decrease of £3.8 million (7.8%) in comparison to the previous year
Pensions and Benefits have decreased to £5.2 million
There is £8.9 million earmarked for recurrent spending under Health and Social Care, £0.5 million earmarked for essential improvements to areas within and around the Hospital. There is also £4.5 million allocated in the TC budget for health professionals bringing a total of £13.9 million allocated to Health and Social Care in the coming year, representing 31 % of the overall budget
Education continues to be a high priority for this Government and £3.6 million has been allocated to Education, Skills and Employment in this year
£1.7 million has been allocated for Environment, Natural Resources and Planning and this will be complemented by external environmental project funding this year of £0.9 million. Funding has also been secured for year two of the project to restore the cloud forest in the Peak’s National Park.
Financial Aid Settlement
Total financial aid support from the UK Government for this financial year will be up to £31.79 million:
£26.79 million Core budget support
£2.88 million for Airport operations
£2.12 million for Call Down Contingency funding.
Local Revenue & Taxes
£6.0 million is expected to be raised in Income Tax, up from £5.7 million in 2021/22
Customs duties is expected to increase to £5.6 million, up from £5.4 million in 2021/22
Other local revenues make up £1.8 million
Limited changes in tax policy allowing the previous year’s changes to be embedded and giving time to assess whether the policy changes are achieving the intended outcomes
Customs duty on alcohol increased by 1.7% at end of March 2022. As a result, the duty on a bottle of 750ml of spirit will increase by 24p, a 750ml bottle of wine will increase by 9p and the duty on a 330ml bottle of castle light will increase by 1p
Tobacco and tobacco products increased at the end of March 2022 by 3.7%. As a result the duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes increased by 18p
There will be no other customs duty changes made at this time
No change to the tax rates for this financial year
Corporation Tax rates will remain at 25% or 15% for those businesses who are supporting the delivery of the Sustainable Economic Development Plan as outlined in previous years
The personal allowance will remain at £7,000 and the first £18,000 of taxable income taxed at 26% and 21% for those businesses supporting the SEDP and for income over £25,000 this will be taxed at 31% or 26% of those businesses supporting the SEDP
St Helena Government is working with international partners to understand the feasibility of digital finance on St Helena and the possibility of cultivating and exporting high grade medical marijuana for CBD extraction
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13 May 2022