|His Excellency The Governor – Mr. William Alistair Harrison|
Friday, 6 January 2012
I should like to clarify the latest position on Anguilla’s budget for 2012.
- The budget was passed by the House of Assembly and came to me for assent on 22 December. I reported the position to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and received instructions that Henry Bellingham, the Minister for the Overseas Territories, wanted to consult other Ministers, particularly in the Department for International Development (DFID).
- I accordingly told the Chief Minister and other members of EXCO on 22 December that it was unlikely that I would receive further instructions to assent to the budget until the first few days of January.
- The Finance Act provides for a provisional warrant to be signed by the Finance Minister if a new budget is not in place at the beginning of January each year so that payments can continue to be made. This has often happened in the past, 11 times in the last 17 years. Revenue collection is not affected, as it is provided for under separate legislation.
- Revenue measures planned under the budget are either already in place or can be introduced separately. It is only expenditure that would be affected. It is, under Anguilla’s internal self-government, entirely a matter for the Finance Minister to decide whether to sign the warrant. But I hope that he will do so to enable weekly paid staff to be paid tomorrow.
- There is no reason to believe that a short routine roll over will damage Anguilla’s reputation with e.g. international donors, although we should obviously seek to avoid a repeat of last year’s long delay.
- I would like to make clear that it is not the case that the British Government is trying to impose a cut on the number of civil servants – that is a matter for the elected Ministers of the Government of Anguilla, who will in due course take decisions on the ongoing review of the public service being carried out by Anguillian public servants themselves (and launched with the assistance of an independent consultant paid for by DFID).
- Nor is it the case that the British Government is seeking to impose a cut on salaries, which is again a matter for Anguilla’s elected Ministers. They have recently agreed, in EXCO, to seek independent legal advice on the future of the temporary salary measures introduced in 2009 and 2010.
- In conclusion I continue to hope that the Chief Minister will sign the provisional warrant.
By: His Excellency The Governor – Mr. William Alistair Harrison
Posted by Realist Spikenice at 12:07