Premier of Bermuda and Minister of Finance David Burt delivered his Budget Statement on the Floor of the House of Assmebly.
Burt made a statement regarding the Ministry of Social Development and Sports – “Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Social Development and Sports is charged with the responsibility of strengthening the social fabric of our community by delivering programmes and initiatives that directly benefit young people, families and the community as a whole. The Ministry has been allocated a budget of $86.3 million this fiscal year, which represents a reduction of $1 million after the move of the community education programme to the Ministry of Education is taken into account.
Although the budget for this important Ministry shows an overall reduction, it is important to note that most departments will see an increase in funding. As called for in the September 2017 Speech from the Throne, the Ministry has commenced an initiative to reform the Financial Assistance Programme to reduce abuse, discourage dependency, and ensure that work pays. It is projected that this reform will lead to cost savings in the region of $1.5 million.
The Ministry of Social Development and Sports, in conjunction with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, has launched an initiative to establish a loan guarantee scheme that will enable community and sporting clubs to upgrade their facilities, develop programmes to serve our youth, spur entrepreneurship and ensure greater community outreach in the surrounding parishes and neighborhoods.
Funding will support a public consultation and Green Paper on policy options to reduce drug abuse in Bermuda. To support substance abuse rehabilitation, additional funds have been allocated to addiction counseling and drug treatment services.”