Economic network

Help promised for Bermudian families struggling with rising food prices

Bermuda Premier and Finance Minister David Burt has promised help is on the way for families struggling to cope with rising food prices.

Burt said a financial support package will be discussed by his cabinet in the coming week, but urged residents to be “wise in their spending choices”.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, the Prime Minister told the House of Assembly that laws were passed in 2020 but only come into force now.

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He added that it will also force retailers to publish commodity prices.

Burt said the proposed endorsement would be presented to the House by July 15.

He admitted that although official statistics indicate that food prices have risen by five percent over the past year, many items have risen by up to five times that amount.

“For example, in January it was reported that frozen ribs were up 28% year-on-year,” he told fellow lawmakers.

He also said rising interest rates meant Bermudians would pay more for loans and mortgages, “further squeezing household budgets”.

“Before the House adjourns on July 15, the Government will present to this Honorable House a comprehensive package of measures to address the challenges of rising food costs that will provide additional support to the many Bermudians who need help to make ends meet.”

“This package is currently being prepared by the Ministry of Finance and will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting.”

But he said the government is limited in what it can do to help the needy and people will have to help themselves.

“There are limits to the support the government can provide, as it is vital to Bermuda’s economic future that the government meets its fiscal targets.

“With global inflation set to continue for the foreseeable future and a growing number of economists predicting a recession in the world’s largest economy – and our largest trading partner, the United States – all residents must exercise wisdom in their spending choices.”

Bermuda, which imports most of its goods, currently has a national debt of US$3.1 billion.