St Helena’s Budget – in figures

New higher rate of 31% tax on all income over £25,000 from 1 April 2015.

Basic income tax rate rises by 1% to 26%, from 1 April.

Personal tax allowance stays at £7,000.

Companies’ income tax paid remains at 25%.

Tobacco: 5% increase in duty (about 16p extra on a packet of 20 – total about £3.20 duty on average cost of just over £5).

Alcohol: 3% increase (11p on a bottle of wine, 4p on a bottle of Castle, 46p on a litre of Captain Morgan). Cider over 4.5% strength now taxed at the same rate as beer – earlier than planned.

Liquor Duty (on locally-produced alcohol): 50p per litre increase to £4.

Diesel and petrol now both taxed at 39p per litre.

No changes to Customs Duty on Vehicles, or the customs duty rates of 5% and 20%.

Freight rates and passenger rates on the RMS St Helena: unchanged.

Plastic bags and Styrofoam take-away cartons: excise duty rises to 10p each.

Carbonated sweetened drinks: excise duty remains 75p per litre.

Stamp Duty remains 2.5%.

Businesses: investment tax credit, accelerated depreciation, rollover relief on capital gains, and unlimited carry-forward of losses remain in place for 2015.

Further duties and incentives will be reduced in coming months to support the green agenda – for instance, encouraging use of energy-efficient electrical goods.

Local tax and customs are forecast raise just over £10 million. Other revenue sources, including rents and fines, are expected to raise £1.4m.

DFID’s budget aid settlement is unchanged at £13.55m. Other DFID aid includes £1.2m for safeguarding, £2.68m for the RMS St Helena and £1.2m contingency funded, as needed.

Benefits:

Income Related Benefits: basic level to rise from £41.64 to £54.90 per week for the first householder, and to £31.90 for other adults in the household.

Basic Island Pension to rise from £53.53 to £56.80 per week (for a full complement of years worked). Those receiving £40.15 will receive £42.60 and those receiving £26.77 will receive £28.40.

The new rates apply from 3 April 2015, to be paid from Thursday 9 April.

From this date, IRB recipients will receive an increase in their weekly benefit from £51.64 to £54.90 and

Two recommendations from the Sainsbury report become policy in 2015/16: £50,000 has been budgeted to fund a new disability benefit called the Better Life Allowance. And money people earn after the age of 65 will count towards their Basic Island Pension – a “fairer way” of assessing it.

Executive Council has also agreed to raise the island’s minimum hourly wage is also to rise from 1 July 2015, from £2.30 to £2.60 (from £1.45 to £1.65 for those aged 16 and 17).

Key spending:

St Helena Government plans to spend just over £32m on recurrent costs such as staffing (£14.8m) – an increase of some £2.3m. A total of £6.7m is set aside for employing people from overseas on technical co-operation contracts, and £872k for overseas medical referrals.

Health Service: an extra £252,000 of spending on top of last year’s increase of £692k – a rise of £944k over two years.

Police and Fire Service: an extra £326,000 of spending, including £110 for sea rescue.

The Police and Fire Service will see an extra £326k of funding, partly to prepare for the opening of the airport. This money includes £110k for a new Sea Rescue Service.

There is also continued support for civil bodies, including the Human Rights Office and the Community Grant Scheme.

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