Falklands : PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY, 24 JUNE 2013 Part 1: The Budget Presentation
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 30.06.2013 (Article Archived on 28.07.2013)
A public meeting took place in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town hall at 1700hrs on Monday, 24 June 2013. Present were MLAs Hansen, Edwards (Chair) Short, Cheek and Elsby.
MEETING MONDAY, 24 JUNE 2013
1: The Budget Presentation
A public meeting took place in the
Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town hall at 1700hrs on Monday, 24 June
2013. Present were MLAs Hansen, Edwards
(Chair) Short, Cheek and Elsby.
The first order of business was a
presentation on the 2013/14 budget by the Financial Secretary Mrs Nicola
Granger. She began by pointing out what
FIG were trying to achieve during the budget cycle including the 3 times
departmental spend in the reserves, spending only funds that have been
received, not having any public sector borrowing, having a balanced budget,
encouraging economic development to strengthen FIG funds and also to strengthen
infrastructure. At the same time FIG are
also looking to reduce the deficits in FIG pension funds and to return some of
the windfalls of recent years to the community.
Figures showing the final position
were presented and they look different from previous years due to the oil
related revenue. About 2/3rds of the way
down the page was the normal operating figures – a deficit for the five years
of the Medium Term Financial Plan.
There were also the newer areas of
oil expenditure and revenue. A revised
figure, depending on the year showed a £2Million surplus/ deficit and
£6.8Million deficit this year
In terms of revenue, there is
£50Million of revenue included in the budget and £3.8 Million relating to oil
making 1/3rs of our revenue coming from natural resources which are
predominately fishing licences. A third
comes through the treasury – about £6Million in investment income and
£11Million in tax receipts.
A new segment – Oil, was separated
from Mineral resources with the usual acreage licence income and the new
section is tax receipts coming in from exploration showing as separate lines.
In terms of revenue there was a
5-year average ranging from no revenues to £10.2 Million projected to come in
during the current year. There is just
under £6Million included in the revenue budget this year. Presently there are no oil royalties or large
tax revenues on capital gains for farm-ins between oil companies. They are a bit more uncertain than the
Other large revenues for this year
includes the larger personal allowance for MST and income tax
In total there was
£62Million. The largest chunks are going
to Health, PWD and Natural Resources.
Education has gone up 10% since last year due to the expectation of a
larger number of students going overseas after graduation.
Mrs Granger moved on to some of
the changes that were in the budget such as a decrease in grazing fees and
increases on tobacco and alcohol duties of 3 and 5% respectively and a number
of charges that went up by an inflationary charge of 3%. Inflation is actually 3.7% but a rounded
figure of 3% was used in calculating inflation-based increases. Other increases include the banking licence,
funeral charges, FIGAS freight rates (5% from July 2014), an increase in
passenger rates (residence rates stay the same), Medical/dental fees,, landing
fees and retirement pensions contributions.
There have been no changes in the
domestic service charge at £426.00.
Other charges, like the quarry charges, electricity prices and water and
refuse will be left at the same rate as last year. Those areas where prices remained the same
there was a policy to break even.
£3.5 Million is allocated for a
variety of projects like the Museum, FIDC, FITB, the Tourism Development
Strategy, Rural Development Strategy and other subventions and subsidies.
£10Million is allocated for
transfers to the pensions funds over 5 years, some of which are possible
because of increased revenue from oil exploration.
There is a 5% increase in Civil
Service Pay and related allowances.
Members asked for a review of anything that can help the financial
assistance of the lower paid. As a
result the working credit and childcare credit scheme was created. At the same time the rent rebate scheme was
extended to properties outside of Stanley – to Fox Bay. The winter fuel allowance was extended to
those in receipt of an attendance allowance.
There are 21 new and/or extended
posts in government and an increase in Members’ remuneration.
£16.8Million in Capital
Expenditure has been earmarked for plant and vehicles for the quarry and camp
and Stanley roads and £5Million over 5 years is earmarked for oil and gas