2017 Throne Speech: A Brief Summary of the Parliamentary Agenda
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A new Progressive Labour Party Government signalled its intention to build “a better and fairer Bermuda” by “ensuring social mobility and removing social inequality” through economic growth when its legislative agenda for the forthcoming parliamentary year was unveiled in the Speech from the Throne delivered on the opening of Parliament on Friday the 8th of September following the party’s landslide election in July.
Describing Bermuda as the most expensive country to live in 2016, the new Government announced its priorities would be: reducing the cost of living; creating more jobs for Bermudians; and growing the Bermuda economy.
Some of the key specifics on how the PLP Government proposes to achieve these aims set out in the Speech were:
- To re-establish a Bermuda First think-tank comprised of local and international business and community leaders to produce a long-term economic and social plan for Bermuda;
- A Tax Reform Commission to review Bermuda’s system of taxation and to make recommendations to create “the fairest tax regime possible” and one that will also “enhance Bermuda’s international competitiveness and increase tax compliance”;
- The establishment of an Economic Diversification Unit within Government to identify and pursue new opportunities to meet “the desperate need” for economic diversification;
- A new Tourism Investment Act to attract and stimulate further investment in not just hotels but ancillary tourism businesses and services;
- Increased statutory powers and scope for the Price Control Commission to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of living – food prices were specifically mentioned;
- Immigration reform of both policy and legislation to be initiated by a bi-partisan parliamentary committee of the Legislature; and
- The implementation of “a living wage in Bermuda” to similarly be initiated by a second parliamentary committee.