HAMILTON, Bermuda, Thursday March 23, 2017 – Beer lovers in Bermuda will probably be drinking a round in celebration of a decision by the island’s legislators to shield the beverage from increased taxes.
As part of much needed revenue-generating measures, Finance Minister Bob Richards imposed a raft of new custom tariffs under the Customs Tariff Amendment Act 2017.
While beer escaped the tax net, consumers will have to dig deeper in their pockets to pay for gas and diesel.
According to the Royal Bermuda Gazette newspaper, the ruling One Bermuda Alliance and the opposition Progressive Labour Party agreed on the matter in a rare show of bi-partisan support.
Richards had moved the tax on a litre of beer from $1.26 to $1.88, but Opposition leader David Burt had tabled an amendment urging the Government to maintain the existing tax level and Richards agreed.
However, the new found partnership collapsed at the next round of voting when MPs failed to agree on a measure which would lead to a five cents increase in gas and diesel.
Finance Minister Richards announced that the custom tariffs on gas would be75 cents while 50 cents would be applied to diesel.
The legislators also held back on a proposal from Independent MP Mark Pettingill for the introduction of a sugar tax to persuade Bermudians to change poor eating habits.
Minister of Health Jeanne Atherden said while it was an idea worth exploring, Government was focused on changing behavior rather than profiting from the consumption of sugar.
Parliament also agreed to provide relief to the apparel sector to save jobs.