Column: Social Investment Strategy For Bermuda

October 5, 2016

[Opinion column written by BPSU President Jason Hayward]

One of the fundamental roles of Government is to look out for the welfare of its people and provide social safety nets that prevents Bermudians from falling through the cracks.

In my 2016 Labour Day address, I proposed that the Bermuda Government strengthen the social welfare benefits offered to its citizens.

Some may view my calls as socialist rhetoric that is past its sell-by-date. I contend that those with this perspective may be regressive in their thinking. Let’s agree that Socialism is dead. Traditional social welfare has improved the socio-economic conditions of many.

Despite its successes, this approach has increasingly come under attack with concerns being expressed about sustainability. The effectiveness of traditional social welfare has also been called into question with the perpetual cycle of dependency that some persons have resigned themselves to, often overshadowing the success stories of such policies.

Jason Hayward Bermuda TC October 4 2016

Social Investment is a balance between social and economic goals. The European Commission describes social investment as follows: “Social investment is about investing in people. It means policies designed to strengthen people’s skills and capacities and support them to participate fully in employment and social life. Key policy areas include education, quality childcare, healthcare, training, job-search assistance and rehabilitation.”

These policies are designed to be proactive rather than reactive and emphasize building capacity by investing in citizens as a method to solve unemployment. Social investment produces policies that are stimuli to economic growth and development, and challenge the neoliberal view that social policies are a cost hindrance to achieving economic growth and development.

In February 2013, the European Commission adopted its Social Investment Package [SIP]; an integrated policy framework which takes account of the social, economic and budgetary divergences between its member states which:

  • Guides EU countries in using their social budgets more efficiently and effectively to ensure adequate and sustainable social protection;
  • Seeks to strengthen people’s current and future capacities, and improve their opportunities to participate in society and the labour market;
  • Focuses on integrated packages of benefits and services that help people throughout their lives and achieve lasting positive social outcomes;
  • Stresses prevention rather than cure, by reducing the need for benefits. That way, when people do need support, society can afford to help;
  • Calls for investing in children and young people to increase their opportunities in life.

Social investment policies provides targeted intervention at critical stages in a person’s life which translate into economic and social returns. This approach to unemployment empowers people from a state of poverty and dependency through targeted social policies which seek to capacity-build, while at the same time protect people when they are vulnerable.

Social investment can serve to be that bridge between those that support social welfare and the proponents against social welfare policies. We should all be able to agree to social spending that supports the development of people and their ability to participate in the labour market.

Bermuda currently provides a level of social services to its citizens, however, these services often work in silos and do not operate with a common strategy.

A social investment strategy for Bermuda can reform and consolidate current social services, enabling them to achieve common goals while at the same time increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided.

- Jason Hayward


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Comments (15)

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  1. Boogah man says:

    I recently responded to an advert for a masons job…to an immigrations adviaoey board (i am sooooo stupit),they were a bit taken aback…you could tell…they must have been laughing all day!
    Dorithy…guess what…some silly bermudian actually cled asking a out the masons job!!!
    You know the one we advertised for foreigners…lol.
    That dopey onion!

    • Iggrunce says:

      Nah man, they were probably chuckling because they could barely decipher what you wrote.

    • passionflower kif says:

      What the ??? are you going on about? Please decode…I lost my Captain Crunch Decoder Ring so I cant tell what the heck you are going on about?

      • Make a new plan Stan says:

        What does it mean when someone who says or thinks they’re intelligent, doesn’t understand someone that they think is dumb??

  2. Boogah man says:

    And…the Easterlillies couldn’t stop laughing…

  3. Boogah man says:

    Our social fabric????

    Our weave needs to include more indiginous bda fibre at blue collar…

    • JAYBIRD says:

      Well you are certainly a stark example of our faulty education system…

  4. Family Man says:

    I wonder if Mr. Hayward could provide some insight into the social benefits his union provides to its members? After all, I’m sure he leads by example.

    • inna says:

      I guess writing these articles can count as a benefit to the members. He has to earn his wages as president of the BPSU somehow!

    • passionflower kif says:

      Exactly….Mr. Hayward, please remind us how much money the Union has given out to its member when they have gone on strike. You do take in wages for this reason, so I trust that you lead by example and assist those when on strike.

      I can remember a friend going on strike back in the 80s for a pay wage. I may be wrong but I believe that strike lasted two weeks. He got something pitiful like a $20 voucher from the BIU to be used in their own CO-OP supermarket. They did win in the end and got what they wanted but what he lost in wages for those two weeks by not working was far more than what he gained. And a $20 voucher from the BIU to be used in their own grocery store.

    • Spit Bouy says:

      Family Man,

      So right, however we both know that that would be a short to non existent discussion. People like Mr. Hayward are big on telling others what they should do to ‘fix things’ even though it’s the Govt he’s referring to and small on doing themselves. SH

  5. Do Right says:

    More nonsense Mr. Hayward and intellectually light weight.

  6. wahoo says:

    Wow! Is it really that easy?

  7. robert s says:

    This is a plea for economic planning and social engineering. Both have never worked, ever, and they are unlikely to work in Bermuda. Go to Venezuela and see how it works there. No thanks. Political action on the economic front is poison to everyone. Allow people to be free to make their own decisions, something the BPSU is unlikely to endorse. We have enough poverty as it is; let us not add to it by such nonsensical programmes.

  8. stunned... says:

    parts of this reads like a class assignment to write a paper on Social Investment.