St Helena : St Helena: BENEFIT SYSTEM STUDY
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 16.02.2013 (Article Archived on 02.03.2013)
Roy Sainsbury and his colleague, Jonathan Bradshaw, from the University of York in the UK, have been reviewing the changes made to the St Helena benefit system in 2011, when the Island introduced its first ever retirement pension scheme
BENEFIT SYSTEM STUDY
Roy Sainsbury and his colleague, Jonathan Bradshaw, from the University of York in the UK, have been reviewing the changes made to the St Helena benefit system in 2011, when the Island introduced its first ever retirement pension scheme. From April of that year, all Saints who had contributed to St Helena society through working or through caring for children and disabled relatives for 20 years or more were entitled to a partial or full pension. Working age people who had no or little income would continue to receive the Income Related Benefit. It was also the intention that no-one should lose out from the changes, so transitional protection payments were brought in.
Currently on Island, Roy Sainsbury has been collecting evidence from a wide range of St Helena society to answer some key questions, including:
· Are the new benefits reaching the groups and individuals who need financial support?
· Are the benefit levels sufficient?
During the past two weeks, Roy has had meetings with members of the Legislative Council, Government officials, private sector employers, civil society organisations and groups of Saint pensioners, families and individuals.
Roy, who departs St Helena on 14 February, said:
“Social welfare benefits are clearly an extremely important issue on the Island right now and I have been delighted with the co-operation and involvement of everyone I have met on St Helena.
“Overall, the 2011 changes seem to have been welcomed by Saints but there are also some problems that need dealing with. I hope to give SHG a number of clear recommendations and suggestions on a wide range of issues, including how households are assessed for benefits, the qualifying conditions for the Basic Island Pension, and how to set rates of benefits at a fair level.”
Roy, who leads the research group at the University of York, working on projects related to social security, employment and welfare, commented now that his fact-finding is complete, he will produce a report for SHG.
12 February 2013