ST HELENA FINANCIAL AID SETTLEMENT REACHED
St Helena Government and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are pleased to confirm that a Financial Aid Settlement has been agreed for the financial year 2023-24, following the recent Financial Aid Mission to St Helena.
The settlement will see £33.06 million available to SHG in the 2023-24 financial year, which represents a 4% increase on the previous year. This comprises core budget support, and funding for St Helena Airport operations as well as contingencies and critical needs.
We are pleased to announce that the settlement also includes, for the first time, a £500k fund to further support the recovery and development of St Helena’s tourism industry. The fund will provide a boost to key pillars of the industry by enhancing local capacity and skills, upgrading facilities and developing and improving international marketing, amongst other activities.
SHG is now in the process of finalising the government’s budget for 2023-24. Further details and data on the budget will be made public in due course.
Funding for capital programmes on St Helena, including Economic Development Investment Programme (EDIP), Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and the Essential Equipment programme, are separate to the Financial Aid Settlement and will continue. EDIP is expected to deliver a further £19.2m up to the programme’s end date in 2026. Essential Equipment is expected to deliver £1.8m by 2024.
The CSSF continues to support St Helena though a variety of Overseas Territories programmes, including Justice, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change, Border Security and Governance. Additionally, further support continues through the Blue Belt, International Programme and Disaster Management Programmes.
On the settlement, Chief Minister, Julie Thomas, said:
“The world is in a difficult economic climate at present and the UK is not immune from this, so we extend our gratitude for this year’s settlement. It is a testament to the hard work of the teams in both SHG and the FCDO that such a generous settlement has been reached. Whilst we recognise and celebrate the commitment shown to St Helena by the UK, with inflation currently at 5.4% this does constitute in real terms a reduction in SHG’s budget for the next financial year.”
“In preparation for these discussions, Ministers had identified where potential cuts might need to be made based on a number of possible funding scenarios. Officials are now hard at work establishing where the money which is available can be best focused to deliver this Government’s key strategic objectives, noting that the settlement will require us to concentrate efforts on programmes already underway and which are most likely to see us achieve our vision.”
Head of the Overseas Territories Directorate in the FCDO, Adam Pile, said:
“Having been to St Helena as part of the Financial Aid Mission earlier this year, I have seen for myself the significant impact these finances have on the Island. I’m therefore very pleased that we are able to deliver a 4% uplift to St Helena’s settlement this year.”
“We are also pleased to be able to provide £500k dedicated support for tourism recovery as part of this. Tourism is absolutely critical for St Helena in its path towards greater financial independence. Stimulating recovery of this industry goes hand in hand with improving the future economic prospects of St Helena.”
12 April 2023