Dr. Clarke is also refuting suggestions from Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Mark Golding, that the Holness administration’s tax policy is to be blamed for the rise in poverty.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Golding charged that the $30-billion in additional indirect taxes imposed by the JLP Government to pay for their 1.5 election plan has worsened poverty in Jamaica.

The 1.5 plan refers to the government’s move to raise the income tax threshold to $1.5 million dollars, which was done in two phases in 2016 and 2017.

Those direct taxes were replaced by higher indirect taxes, such as GCT.

Dr. Clarke argues that if the tax policy was to blame, poverty would’ve risen across Jamaica, and not just in Kingston.

The Finance Minister is also pointing to other social conditions, which the survey shows improved in 2017.

Dr. Clarke says he’s confident that when the 2019 Survey of Living Conditions is published, there will be even more improvements, especially as unemployment continues to decline.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance.