Laid off workers seeking assistance

Some of the persons who were laid off from the Drainage Unit under Government’s retrenchment programme in the public service have already made their way to the Welfare Department.

And to cater to their needs, the Welfare Department has allocated $500,000 out of the $4.4 million of the supplementary vote sought   in the House of Assembly today.

Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett made this disclosure today while seeking a supplementary vote of $4,451,769 for the Welfare Department.

Blackett said: “We are seeing some of the workers who were formerly employed in Government’s National Environment Enhancement Programme (NEEP) programme and others who were laid off. Some of these NEEP workers were recipients of welfare, but were involved in a welfare to work programme which sought to wean them away from welfare assistance.

“The Government is mindful of the current economic situation which is affecting countries around the world and the region. Barbados’s social safety net is critical to some Barbadian families. No one who is deserving of assistance should go “untouched”. We continue to look after persons who fall below the poverty line,” Blackett said.

Earlier, Blackett told Parliament that the Welfare Department was allocated $18 million in the 2013-2014 Estimates.

He however pointed out that over the last two years the department spent in excess of $20.2 million and in 2011-2012 it  spent $21 million.

Blackett further pointed out that during the current financial year, 2013-2014, the department will require close to $22.4 million to provide in excess of 70,000 recipients in a year or around 5,500 persons on a monthly basis.

The St Michael Central MP disclosed that at the end of December last year the department spent $15.7 million with $2 million remaining from the allocation for the current financial year.

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