Finance Minister Bob Richards *File photo
Finance Minister Bob Richards *File photo

Nearly 120 jobs have been created in the struggling hospitality and construction sectors since Government introduced a payroll tax break to help out the industries, Finance Minister Bob Richards said yesterday.

A total of 75 jobs have been created in hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and bars, while a further 44 new jobs have sprung up in construction and installation.

Mr Richards said: “It’s good news – we are making progress.”

Another positive sign emerged yesterday — the Economist magazine reported that Bermuda has notched up its strongest performance in new company formations for five years.

Mr Richards gave us his breakdown of new jobs after he announced earlier this week that 226 posts had been created since the two-year payroll tax holiday was introduced in April.

And it followed figures from statistician Cordell Riley, who runs Profiles of Bermuda, who predicted that, if the economy does not improve, a further 2,400 jobs could be lost this year alone. 

Mr Richards said: “I don’t agree with his conclusions and that’s not the view in the Ministry either — and I’m speaking as an analyst of 

40 years.”

Mr Richards said 19 jobs have been created in the health sector, while 16 new posts have opened up in the retail sector, which has also been hard-hit by the recession.

Business services, like the law, accountancy and consultancies, and transport storage and communications, have seen a total of 20 new jobs created.

Mr Richards said he was pleased to see the jobs creation drive produce results in construction and hospitality.

He said: “These are the sectors with the most weakness. A lot of employers would like to hire people, but they are on the margin. This has been helped by these initiatives.”

Mr Richards added that the two-year payroll tax holiday for employers in key sectors would actually produce income for Government.

He said: “It’s putting money into Government coffers because these are people who would otherwise be unemployed. It’s not just tax neutral, it’s tax positive.”

And Mr Richards said: “We have to start somewhere – this is an initiative we have put forward which is starting to produce jobs.”

And he pledged: “There are other things we have in mind that will produce jobs – there is more to come.”