Finance minister keeping an eye on rising inflation rate

·2 min read
Allan MacMaster is Nova Scotia's finance minister. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Allan MacMaster is Nova Scotia's finance minister. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

With inflation hitting a three-decade high last month, Nova Scotia's finance minister says he's keeping the door open to increase assistance for people struggling to make ends meet.

The inflation rate in Canada hit 6.7 per cent in March, the highest it's been in 31 years. That's happening as MLAs debate a budget in the legislature that includes no increase in income assistance rates.

"Even with the increases in the Nova Scotia Child Benefit, with the budget's 4.2 per cent inflation forecast a one-child family will have their actual inflation-adjusted annual income decrease this coming year by $192," NDP Leader Gary Burrill told the legislature during question period.

Before the budget was tabled, the government introduced one-time measures including $150 payments for people on income assistance and people who receive the home heating assistance rebate, and funding boosts for food banks and Feed Nova Scotia.

More than one-time help required

But Liberal Leader Iain Rankin said the government must go further to support people struggling with a variety of increased costs including food, fuel and a potential power rate increase.

"We want support that's more sustained than the one-time support they offered before the budget," Rankin told reporters.

Finance Minister Allan MacMaster said he's mindful of the effect inflation is having on people, particularly those on fixed incomes.

MacMaster reiterated a commitment to "keep the door open" to further support, including more short-term measures, should inflation continue to be a problem.

"It's something we will definitely keep our eye on," he said.

"At the end of the day, we have to make sure that we are attentive. And, you know, the opposition is right to be raising this as a concern. It is a concern for many people and we care about what they're experiencing."

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