The Government as part of its commitment to lifting thousands out of extreme poverty, which is its key priority, has increased the amount of welfare payments to the Constituency's, and by extension the island's most needy under its Public Assistance Programme. It pays up to $375.00 a month to single mothers, depending on their income and number of children.
In 1995 the rate of assistance was $40 a month for a single person househould, $60 for two persons household, $80 for three person household, $100 and $120 for four and five persons household respectively. There were two additional increases effected over a ten year period
The current Government has had the record of implementing two increases during a three year period, first in 2008 and then again in 2010.
When the Programme was first established, it was geared primarily toward under-privileged older persons, inclusive of those with disabilities or suffering from certain mental illnesses.
Over the years, younger persons have been discovered to be in need of assistance and the programme expanded to meet that need.
The adjustments in the five categories ehich the programme covers reflect increases (over the three year period) in the respective categories: single person household $85, two person household - $100, three, four and five person household - $110, $115, and $125 respectively.
The table below shows the payments for two periods.
H/hold - June 2005 - Oct 2010
Single person - $85 - $170
Two persons - $125 - $225
Three persons - $165 - $275
Four persons - $200 - $315
Five persons - $250 - $375
This part of the committment to improve the living standards of the poorest as quickly as possible. The implementation of the two significant increases of a period of just under three years is a demonstration of a Government that is emphatic to the needs of the less fortunate among us.