UK holds out for budget cuts
(CNS): The premier's efforts to deliver the 2012/13 budget were thwarted once again on Friday afternoon because there is still no approval from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Sources in London told CNS that the minister would not be approving the budget until further cuts were made in the Cayman government's spending plans. McKeeva Bush had stated earlier this week that no further cuts could be made and that he would be delivering his budget statement on 17 August. However, officials at the Legislative Assembly confirmed around 1pm Friday that the meeting was canceled and the budget session had been rescheduled for Monday afternoon.
Despite the protestations of the premier, the UK's economic adviser who is assisting with the budget process is continuing to apply pressure on the Cayman government to make further cuts before he can recommend that the minister give his approval. The latest indication is that the FCO official still wants to see a reduction in operating expenses of some $20 million.
Following the last minute cancellation of the LA meeting, the two independent members of the country's parliament warned that the continued brinkmanship being displayed by the premier with the UK was not helping anyone.
“I am extremely concerned over the continued confrontation that the premier is getting into with the FCO,” said Arden McLean, the now independent member for East End. “I believe everyone in this country should be concerned as well as he is destroying our relationship with the UK.”
Ezzard Miller pointed out that the constant announcements about delivering the budget followed by announcements to cancel it did little to help investor confidence in the local economy.
“The premier needs to get down to making the cuts necessary to gain approval from the UK before he makes any further announcements about delivering a budget,” Miller added, stating that there was nothing unreasonable about the UK's request for the Cayman government to deliver a sustainable and credible budget.
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