Pensioners in pain
by Kimberley Cummins
The high cost of living is arduous on all Barbadians but pensioners are feeling it even more.
As a result they are appealing to the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party to recognise their situation as grave.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, President of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, Ed Bushell, said this was the main reason why they decided to write a letter to both parties proposing measures they believe could help ease the situation.
The proposals include the exemption of National Insurance Pensions from Income Tax, the removal of Value Added Tax on the electricity bills of pensioners, an increase in the personal allowance deduction from $40,000 to $50,000 for pensioners 60 years and over, and the provision of legislation and regulatory measures to enable the offering of Reverse Mortgages by financial institutions in Barbados.
BARP is also asking the party that forms the next government to consider the provision of tax incentives and other concessions to facilitate the establishment and operation of assisted living facilities for older people in Barbados, the restoration of travel and entertainment allowances, the reinstatement of the income tax deduction for credit union savings and investment, mutual funds and new shares in publicly listed companies.
Additionally they suggested the restoration of VAT to its original level as well as an increase in home allowance to $15,000.
Bushell said BARP also called for an island-wide system to be set-up to deal with the increasing traffic violations so that offences were dealt within a shorter period of time and where applicable fines become more stringent.
He said so far the only political party which contacted him about the proposals was the Barbados Labour Party, adding that they met in January and the feedback was positive as they discussed each proposal and its practicality.
“Any party that forms the new government we look forward to them handling the issues which are affecting the elderly,” he said. “We are concerned about crime against the elderly… The high cost of living is especially burdensome because they are on a fixed income and as they get older the medical costs for them maintaining health and wellness are extremely hard for them to sustain.
“They are faced with these,†added to the increased cost of living on everything else. The elderly are extremely disadvantage,” said Bushell. email@example.com†††