The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is calling on the ULP government to take immediate action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, saying families across the country are struggling to pay for their children’s educational supplies for the upcoming school year.
Children across the country are set to return to school on Monday.
“However, most families are now faced with the challenge of paying for new schoolbooks and equipment amid a cost-of-living crisis that is burdening our country,” the NDP said in a press statement on Wednesday.
“We call on the government to immediately put in place a tax holiday on school items ahead of the new school term, implement a broad-based policy on transportation to ease the financial burden on parents in sending their children to school and provide adequate funding for the School Feeding Programme.”
The NDP said that in June inflation rose to 5.3%, adding that this is the highest it has been in 14 years, putting greater burden on Vincentians.
“Despite this, the government has failed to take action on tackling the cost-of-living crisis,” the NDP said.
President of the NDP, Godwin Friday, said:
“It is shameful that our government has done nothing to help Vincentians struggling with the high cost-of-living. Only last week, during a walkabout in East St George, a constituent was telling me his concerns about the cost of getting his children ready for the new school year.
“People need support now. That is why; the NDP is proposing a 5-point action plan that would provide real and tangible support to persons. Families are worried about the cost of living ahead of the coming school year.”
The NDP said it has a clear plan during this difficult period to ease the burden that families are facing by building our national economy so that it can support families and parents who struggle with the costs associated with education.
The NDP said its plan includes reduce VAT from 16% to 13%; reduce the Customs Service Charge, “The Big Tax on Everything”; increase support for lower income families; reduce the impact of the fuel surcharge on VINLEC bills; and, immediately review the list of VAT items with a view to increasing the number of zero-rated items.