Budget 2015 gets Failing Grade from Congress of Trade Unions & Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB)

(CLICK FOR BIGGER) The 2015 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals as presented in the House of Assembly by Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, have fallen well short of the expectations of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB).

(CLICK FOR BIGGER) The 2015 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals as presented in the House of Assembly by Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, have fallen well short of the expectations of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB).

CTUSAB is disappointed at the fact that the Budget failed to adequately address the all important issue of the recovery and growth of the Barbadian economy. The records will show that the Congress has been consistent in its repeated calls for this to be actioned as a matter of priority by the government.

It is the considered opinion of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados that the budget is basically directed at stabilizing the economy. It is to be regretted that the budget offers no real benefits to the working class.

The Congress is alarmed that in a contracted economy, where there is evidence of an increasing high level of unemployment, inflation and trending poverty, that the government would move to inflict further pressure on the middle income group and the most vulnerable, by seeking to introduce new taxation measures at this time. It is to be noted that property owners in Barbados are being severely impacted upon, as in short order, government have imposed upon them the Environmental levy, the Municipal Solid Waste Tax and now an increase in Land Taxes. It is our view that the repeal of the Solid Waste Tax is not expected to ease the magnitude of the burden.

With respect to the Educational Funding for students attending the University of the West Indies, CTUSAB contends that the threshold for grants/scholarships is too low, since the lower middle income group which has already been impacted upon, stands not to benefit from this measure.

CTUSAB is dismayed at the proposal set out in the budget presentation to remove personal allowances which the working class population enjoyed under Income Tax Benefits. For example, the removal of mortgage interest is expected to be felt by many middle income home owners. The removal of Pension Plans contributions from the list of personal allowance offers little incentive to employees to make preparation for their retirement.

With both Income Tax Allowances and Deductions being significantly reduced, and the imposition of a range of new taxes measures, it is certain that these will add to the stress faced by the middle and lower income groups, who already have reduced purchasing power.

It is to be reiterated that the impact of government’s taxation measures is being felt on the working class, and particularly so, public sector salaried workers, who have not had a salary increase since 2009.

The Congress is of the view that the workers of Barbados will have to contemplate whether under this continued onslaught on their purchasing power, they can remain constrained in their demands for wages and salary increases.

The Congress is of the view that the workers of Barbados will have to contemplate whether under this continued onslaught on their purchasing power, they can remain constrained in their demands for wages and salary increases.

CTUSAB strongly urges the government to identify a set of clearly defined strategies that would enable economic activity to be increased, to significantly reduce the foreign debt, and to provide incentives to encourage the private sector to embark on new projects outside of housing development.

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