Shadow Finance Minister David Burt *File photo
Shadow Finance Minister David Burt *File photo

Statement by Shadow Finance Minister David Burt

Today the Minister of Finance attempted to give a long and unbalanced economic lesson, while ignoring the shortcomings which presented themselves in the first year of OBA Governance.

While the OBA talks about spending control - they overspent their budget by $45 million, in spite of the wage concessions offered by unions.

While the OBA promises streamlining -they INCREASED the size of Government by 233 persons.

While the OBA preaches prudence - they increased travel spending by 48%.

While the OBA brags about the fall in the unemployment rate - Bermuda lost 911 jobs in 2013.

All this while the OBA still speaks of the situation that they inherited by the previous government - However the facts above happened under their watch.

Though the PLP concedes that we must reduce the cost of the government - it is wholly unrealistic for the Minister to propose $70 million of cuts without recognizing the impact that it will have on government jobs.

What was also noticeable in the budget statement was the lack of specifics on Banking, Energy, and Health Care Reform. These areas of the economy are critical for Bermuda's recovery and long term growth. I was encouraged by the Minister's initial statements, especially regarding banking, but we need more than "government is in discussions" to see if we can work together on these important topics.

I look forward to presenting the PLP's reply to the Budget on February 28, 2014 - where we will lay out our alternative plans for the growth, diversification, education and empowerment for Bermuda and Bermudians.