The United Workers Party demands the immediate and complete suspension of the 2.5% Health and Security Levy.
This is in response to the rising cost of living, the adverse impact on the local business community, and the volatile global economic climate.
We call on the Phillip J. Pierre Administration to spare no effort in completely abolishing this ill-conceived measure.
The Health and Security Levy has had an unquantifiable negative impact on ordinary consumers, especially vulnerable citizens who are already burdened by the increasing costs of everyday commodities.
Even before the imposition of this tax, essential items such as bread, electricity bills (with a 30% increase), food in supermarkets, LPG cooking gas, petroleum, diesel, and even bus fares have seen unsustainable price hikes. It is evident that this tax has burdened an already dire situation.
Therefore, we demand for an immediate and total suspension.
The business community is also grappling with the repercussions of this policy. Companies from various sectors continue to express their frustration over the confusion and disruption caused by this measure.
The Health and Security Levy is unquestionably hindering the private sector’s ability to expand and create jobs, especially considering the unemployment rate, which stands at unacceptable levels according to the Economic and Social Review.
The tax must be immediately and completely suspended.
We are disappointed that the government did not heed the Chamber of Commerce’s call to postpone the tax until January 2024.
Many businesses are still struggling to implement the necessary administrative and policy changes to collect this tax on behalf of the government.
There is a genuine fear that many might inadvertently violate the state’s tax laws, subjecting them to severe penalties.
The cost of doing business will undoubtedly increase as companies face the real and present threat of additional costs, as services subject to the H&S Levy, such as advertising, accounting, security, and brokerage services, will incur an additional 2.5% charge. This burden will inevitably be passed on to you, the end consumers.
An example of this scenario can be seen in the notices issued by KFC, National Housing Corporation and Digicel indicating that the prices of their products will increase.
Even though the SLP administration has gone to great lengths to explain that food prices will not be affected by the tax, raising the costs of services will inevitably lead to higher food prices.
Due to the volatile global economic climate, which has been further compounded by the Russian-Ukraine war and growing instability in the Middle East, there is a global energy crisis with a ripple effect on consumables.
This exacerbates the global inflation problem. Given these circumstances, there is no better time than now to immediately and completely suspend the Health and Security Levy.
SOURCE: United Workers Party