Civil service costs the issue
The United Kingdom Government has refused to sign off on Cayman’s budget for next year until more civil service personnel cuts are made.
Premier McKeeva Bush, explaining why the presentation of the 2011/2012 budget had been postponed for the third time this month, said the UK government wanted more time to review the proposed budget. The budget had been expected to be delivered in the Legislative Assembly on Monday, 23 May.
He said the main area of scrutiny was personnel costs that the Cayman Islands Government was unwilling to cut further.
Premier Bush said that even though Cayman’s budget position had improved, the UK Government was insisting on a reduction in personnel costs.
“The UK says the present personnel cost level is unsustainable. This has resulted in the Budget Address being delayed for additional review time by the UK,” the statement from the premier read.
Mr. Bush said he could not bring the budget to the Legislative Assembly until it has been approved by the UK.
“We won’t cut back on salaries and benefits,” said the premier, adding that other cuts would have to be made to gain the UK Government’s approval for the budget and that more time was needed to do so.
Premier Bush, in a speech earlier this month, said the Cayman Islands has gone from a projected central government surplus of $13 million in February to an estimated $4.6 million operating deficit as of 5 May.
In Friday’s statement, Mr. Bush said the UK Government had informed him that further scrutiny was needed for the proposed expenditures. He said loans taken by the government to fund new schools, the new government administration building and other spending by the PPM government during its term in office had caused an $81 million recurrent expenditure deficit and a $120 million capital deficit in 2009.
Despite the postponement of the budget address, the official state opening of the Legislative Assembly will go ahead as scheduled on Monday, 23 May, after which Governor Duncan Taylor will deliver the annual Throne Speech.
Traditionally, the budget address has been delivered after the state opening of parliament.
The delivery of the budget and state opening of the Legislative Assembly had initially been scheduled for 17 May. This was subsequently delayed to 20 May, and then to Monday, 23 May.
Cayman’s new 2010/11 budget year begins on 1 July.