Arthur: Drop in standard of living
Barbadians may be forced to settle for a lower standard of living as Government seeks to close a half billion dollar gap between its revenue and its bills.
Leader of the Opposition Owen Arthur made this charge last night when his Barbados Labour Party (BLP) held a public meeting in Massiah Street, St John.
“The standard of living that we have known through sensible public spending is under threat and, even as we speak, decisions are being made to change that standard of living,” Arthur told the gathering.
“For the first time in our history, a major reduction in your standard of living could become the most important policy of (Government).”
The former Prime Minister said the major problem facing Government was that it had allowed a $116 million surplus in 2007 to become a massive deficit. In 2010, Government’s revenue fell to $2.2 billion and expenditure (including wages and salaries) was tagged at $2.8 billion “so in the year ended December 31, 2010, the Government had to borrow $538 million just to pay ordinary bills”, Arthur reported.
Arthur said the onus was on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to “forget the politics of piffle” in the St John by-election campaign “and to come and condition you, the citizens, for the sacrifice that you may have to make”. Stuart should also be talking about the solutions to the country’s economic problems, Arthur said.