St Helena : St Helena EXCO Report: 26 February 2013
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 09.03.2013 (Article Archived on 06.04.2013)
Executive Council met this morning to consider a varied agenda. Our first paper was presented by Councillor Tony Green. The paper proposed a £1 per week increase in rent for Government Landlord Housing (GLH) properties.
EXCO Report: 26 February 2013
Executive Council met this morning to consider a varied agenda. Our first paper was presented by Councillor Tony Green. The paper proposed a £1 per week increase in rent for Government Landlord Housing (GLH) properties. Housing Executive, Andy Crowe attended to assist with questions. Rent levels in GLH properties currently range from £11.75 per week for basic accommodation to £18 per week for a three bedroom house. There was no rent increase in 2012 and deferring rent increases only makes it more difficult to provide a viable housing service and to pay for essential maintenance. Council therefore agreed to the modest increase of £1 per week with effect from 1 July 2013. A tenants’ newsletter will be issued shortly to explain in more detail the basis for the rent increase.
The following two papers, proposing increases to water and drainage charges and to electricity tariffs were deferred to the next meeting of EXCO on 5 March to enable cross checking of the accuracy of a few calculations.
The next paper, presented by the Attorney General, sought Council’s agreement to bring into effect, from 1 April 2013, the Employment Rights Ordinance (Commencement) (No 2) Order 2013 and the Labour Regulating Authority Regulations 2013. In his capacity as Chairman of the Employment Rights Committee, Councillor Buckley joined the meeting to assist EXCO. The main purpose of the Employment Rights Ordinance is to provide increased employee protection in the economy, consistent with the 2011 Investment Policy principles. One of the overarching principles of that policy is to ensure maximum benefit from development for the island’s economy and for its people. Leaflets detailing the Ordinance’s provisions have been widely circulated and further details will be made available through the media before 31 March 2013.
Council agreed the proposal in principle, subject only to clarification of a few technical points at the meeting of EXCO to be held on 5 March
Closely linked to the previous paper we then considered a paper presented by the Chief Secretary which proposed a minimum wage for St Helena. Councillor Buckley also assisted EXCO with this item.
The Employment Rights Committee recommended two rates as follows:
a) a rate of £2.30 per hour for all workers having attained the age of 18 years; and,
b) a rate of £1.45 per hour for all young people having attained the age of 16 and 17 years.
Council welcomed the proposed rates and agreed the recommendation in principle, subject to confirmation of a few points at the next meeting of EXCO on 5 March. Council further agreed, in principle, that the implementation date should be 1 June 2013.
Our final paper today concerned the Bank of St Helena and was presented by the Attorney General. The paper invited Council to approve a draft Bank of St Helena (Restructuring) Bill for submission to the Legislative Council as Government Business.
In September 2011, after much discussion and consultation, EXCO directed that steps be taken to convert the Bank of St Helena into a company limited by shares, with all shares to be owned by SHG. The process to achieve that was complex and took some time to prepare, with specialist legal input. The Bank of St Helena and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority wish to see that change-over take effect on 1 April 2013 and the proposed Bill will enable that to happen.
Noting that this would not in any sense impact upon customers of the Bank of St Helena and in particular that there would be no weakening of banking confidentiality, Council approved that the Bill should go forward as proposed.
That concluded our formal agenda items. Under ‘Any Other Business’ I advised Councillors that Dr Peter Hayes, Director of the Overseas Territories Department at the Foreign Office (the successor to Mr. Colin Roberts), would visit St Helena from 4 – 6 March.
26 February 2013