Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler

Government’s allocation of some $27.3 million to the Welfare Department “is a more accurate reflection of the spending capacity of that agency and will not negatively affect the provision of assistance to the poor”.

That is the word from Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler.

Stating that the amount allocated in the Estimates for the new financial year represented a $7 million reduction, he said: “It is really because the Welfare Department has been returning, over the last three to four years, about $8 million to the Ministry of Finance.”

Minister Sinckler revealed that in the financial year 2006 to 2007, the Welfare Department spent $19,002,980.70 of the $25,301,351 provided and returned $6,301,999.34. In 2007 to 2008, $28,925,984 was granted, which included a supplementary, and of that amount, $9,631,459.02 was returned. For the past financial year, 2008 to 2009, the Department was allocated $34, 052,755, and according to the Minister “it is likely that the amount returned will be about $13 million.

“What is happening is that we have tightened up on what they [the Welfare Department] have requested, so that it reflects genuinely what they really require… We tried to find out whether or not they were getting money that they were not able to spend or whether persons had fallen off the roll so significantly. But, it really is that they have been carrying forward statistics without doing the necessary empirical analysis to see that they really require this money,” the Social Care Minister explained.

Mr. Sinckler disclosed, however, that if there was a need for an increase, the Ministry would return for a supplementary.

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