Private sector helps government fund poor relief

Chef Susan Conley holds a ‘Test Your Taste Buds’ educational workshop hosted by Feed Our Future at George Town Primary in December 2015. The organization holds educational programs and delivers lunches for children in need.

About $300,000 cut from the government’s school lunches and uniforms budget is being made up through the efforts of private sector and volunteer organizations, according to the Cayman Islands Ministry of Community Affairs.

Assistance from the private sector has allowed that money to be diverted to other social assistance programs during the 2015/16 fiscal year, Minister Osbourne Bodden said Sunday.

“The decreases in government spending for school lunches is due to the diligent work of community organizations, such as Feed Our Future, which are assisting many families who have this specific need,” a ministry statement read.

Government policy changes have reduced other areas of the poor relief budget, including the resumption of reception (preschool) classes in public schools which dropped the budget for preschool assistance by about $100,000, the ministry noted.

In addition, a “cut-off point” for new applications seeking government benefits for ex-servicemen has resulted in a small savings of $50,000, the ministry said.

The Community Affairs Ministry essentially took about $1.4 million in spending on various social assistance programs in order to give it to others during the 2015/16 budget.

The funding increases for the year included poor relief vouchers ($150,000), rental assistance ($300,000), various forms of assistance such as utilities payments, medical supplies, summer camp payments and school supplies ($200,000), care for the elderly and disabled ($400,000) and support for the CAYS Foundation, including the expansion of the Frances Bodden Home ($336,513).

Corresponding budget decreases for the 2015/16 year included $300,000 cut from the school lunches and uniforms program, $100,000 less for preschool assistance, $375,000 reduced from poor relief payments, $561,513 cut from housing repairs and $50,000 reduced from benefits paid to ex-servicemen.

Supplementary appropriations to the 2015/16 budget, which ended on June 30, 2016, will be considered by the Legislative Assembly when it meets later this month. They generally involve amounts that have already been spent and merely require legal approval of assembly members.

During the approval process, the government must also state what areas of the budget were reduced to make up for the additional spending.

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  1. I think that this is something for us to think about. I remember when the Islands were nothing like today , but everyone lived within their means and didn’t need or got anything except free medical from the Government, but today Government has to spend millions of dollars on some people for from rent down to school uniforms programs. But with the Islands being in better financial shape and spending money like there’s no end to it .
    Why there’s so much poverty that so many people needs help with everything ? Is the Islands turning into a nanny state ?

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