Welfare clients being encouraged to only buy from ‘basket of goods’


SOME clients have been misusing funds allotted to them by the Welfare Department, to purchase food items. As such, clients will now be encouraged to only purchase items from the recently amended Basket of Goods, which is exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT).
Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, pointed out the above recently, noting that some clients have even gone as far as to purchase bleaching creams for their skin, from the vouchers allotted. Just recently, the Barbados Drug Service issued a public warning about skin lightening creams sold in local stores, especially beauty supply stores, noting that they can lead to a number of health complications.
“Our clients of course, we are going to have them sensitised towards being mindful to purchase only items from the basket of goods, to ensure they receive maximum nutritional value from the money they spend, because we have had cases and reports of people misusing funds that were given to them for food vouchers, by buying all kinds of things including bleaching creams. So we will be moving to have them sensitised enough, to buy only from the basket of goods,” Minister Blackett remarked.
He meanwhile noted that there are between 4 000 to 4 500 individuals on the National Assistance Register, who present to the Welfare Department for assistance and not close to 20 000 as some critics have suggested. Of that number, 133 are able-bodied adults who have been disadvantaged, but who may be able to find jobs as things pickup in the economy. However, he stressed that Government still takes care of such persons temporarily, as it is not always easy for them to find employment, even though they may be willing and able. (RSM)

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