Government Senator, Matthew Samuda, says Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, should account to the country for the rise in poverty.

The 2015 Survey of Living conditions, released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN shows that 21.2-percent of the population is now regarded as poor. This is up from 20 percent in 2014.

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He says it’s disappointing that while he was Finance Minister, Dr. Phillips failed to heed the caution from several stakeholders that his slavish devotion to pro-austerity measures would devastate the poor.

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Senator Samuda says the survey shows that there’s much work to be done by the Holness-administration.

He says the administration’s implementation of the income tax break plan and the 30-percent increase in this year’s budgetary allocation to the PATH programme shows that it’s sensitive to the plight facing society’s most vulnerable.

The increased PATH allocation is expected to benefit an additional 360,000 persons.

Senator Samuda says it’s encouraging that the Education Ministry has also moved to increase meals under the school feeding programme from three days a week to five.

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