Local spending survey set

| 12/12/2014

(CNS): Government will be starting a household survey in January requiring those selected to report on their spending. The aim is to gather information from a range of families with different income levels to assess what proportion of Cayman residents’ income is spent on what and the country’s economic well-being. This will enable the government to modernise the cost of living basket, understand spending behaviour and consumption, as well as measure the spending gap between rich and poor. Fourteen hundred homes will be randomly selected for the survey which will take more than a year to complete with the final results and report expected at the end of 2017.

Finance Minister Marco Archer announced the details of Household Budget Survey (HBS), Friday, and explained the importance of gathering the information on the spending habits of the country. “HBS 2015 is very important as it provides a comprehensive source of information on the country’s household sector,” he said. “As we continue to monitor GDP growth and the other macroeconomic indicators, it is equally important to look deeper into the economic condition of households through the HBS.”

Officials from the Economics and Statistics Office said the random sample would cover a range of income brackets to establish a clear picture of what the population spends their cash on.

This will take into account bills for water, electricity and groceries as any other purchases made during the time of the survey. The survey will take into account what segments of expenditure change for those living in the bottom ten percent of the income range through to the top ten percent selected along with how consumption of goods and services are affected.

The last household budget survey took place in 2007 around the same time as the National Assessment of Living Conditions, that established a controversial poverty line in the Cayman Islands. Among the issues this comprehensive survey will also see how much the gap in income ranges and spending ability has widen between those at the top and bottom of the socio economic pile. In 2007 the gap was already exceptionally significant with those at the bottom of the pile having a per capita consumption of just $5,410 while those at the top enjoy a per capita spending rate of $72,251.

“We need the HBS to update the consumer price index (CPI) basket of goods and services. This is the most popular use of the HBS and the CPI isthe most commonly used statistic in Cayman; mainly for cost of living adjustment,” Archer said at a press briefing to announce the survey.

The total annual consumption of goods and services estimated seven years ago was $1.3 billion. The overall per capita consumption was CI$23,774.

Those selected will be legally required to participate in the study as stipulated in the Statistics Law. Officials stressed that all information collected is to remain absolutely confidential and outside of the ESO. Data collected will not be used to create new taxes for households or businesses.

Of the 1400 houses selected, one hundred and twenty will be surveyed each month. The designated head of the home will need to keep receipts or record the families spending habits in jotters provided by the surveyors who will be visiting local homes.

The data will be used by numerous groups including the Electricity Regulatory Authority, to inform them about any future fuel price increases requested by CUC, while the public service pension board will also use the information to keep civil service pensions in line with inflation. The data will help inform the needs assessment unit of the income level to screen qualified recipients and immigration to grant work permit holders permission to bring their dependents.

The results will also as a benchmark for the countries spending habits and ability to spend. The private sector will also be able to use the data to determine realistic salary levels and employees as a bargaining tool for a pay rise.

Archer also explained the results of the survey will provide government with information on how investment is converted to jobs and consumption in the local economy and understand the country’s spending power and trends.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again ppl homeless, starving, no lights or water and what does the government do another survey. Father please make 2017 hurry cause we will die under this bunch of idiots.

  2. Gut Check says:

    "Those selected will be legally required to participate…."     What, I wonder, are the consequences of refusing?    I remember the last survey;  we were expected to answer all manner of intrusive questions to a person known to me whom I don't trust a tiny bit.    

    Oh, I can hear it already.,..  Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.   Sure.   Fine.   How much do  you spend per month on clothing?    How much did you make last year?   Last month? How many televisions do you own?   Appliances?   Jewelry?   How much are your savings?   

    Striving for middle class.   Employed.   Would like to drive a car that wasn't 12 years old.   Tired of my duties and fees paying for able-bodied people who don't seem to do much of anything except complain.   

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just buying time and wasting money. a new goverment will be in and trash a 2014 report that comes out in 2017. ALL HOG WASH. Fire whoever came up withthis stupidity.

    • Anonymous says:

      More B$ from Marco who sounds disconnected from reality with each passing day 

  4. Anonymous says:

    i still have a cost of living survay that the Truman Bodden government sent out. !… but todate nobody has collected it. if my memory serves its frim the 90"s. will this give them a head start.


  5. Anonymous says:

    What u really need to do is a Savings Survey!
    I can tell u in a split second – Zilch!
    If any long-time, frugal worker can’t save at least 1 weeks’ salary by year-end, things are WAY out of wack with the cost of living / surviving!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Please don't come to my house. We are "randomly selected" for every survey.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Results "at the end of 2017" ?  You have to wonder if the data collected in Jan 2015 needs to take 3 years to consolidate, and to release to the public ?  They must have a process in place already, right, to analyse everything, so why does it take 3 years to produce the results ?  And are the result in 2018, of spending habits in 2014, of any real value ?

    Sounds like the Govt needs to get real.

  8. Knot S Smart says:

    Government had better focus on lowering the cost of living by investigating the profit margins of the oil companies and gas stations. This morning I noticed that the retail cost of gasoline in some places of the United States dropped to US$1.99 per gallon.

    Considering that the US gallon is around 20% less than Imperial gallons and the US$ is around 20% less than the Cayman Dollar – this price equates to CI$1.99 per Imperial gallon.

    Why are we still paying CI$5.30?

    Although we dont have price controls here – the least Government should do is order an inquiry into this situation to determine whether profiteering is going on – then take steps to prevent this. 

    Come on PPM – instead of focusing on how poor people spend their money, put the spotlight on the sector that is the really causing the high cost of living and do something about it!

    If you dont act now then the Cayman economy will continue to suffocate and stagnate with exhorbitant fuel prices – while the economies of the rest of the world will recover because of lower fuel prices…

    • Anonymous says:

       Are you mad?  Encouraging any government to commission another report is fatal.

    • B. Hurlstone says:

      Knot S Smart is absolutely right.  Too bad our leaders look the other way.

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the gas station owners told me, he makes so much cash money, he can't find enough ways to spend it all.

      It is clear where the problem lies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Knot S Smart  is quite smart, in my humble opinion.  What is going on with fuel prices in Cayman should be called Price Gouging and I believe that is a criminal offense.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So  let me see if I got this right.  Survey being done in 2015 and the results and report not finished until 2017?

    No wonder the Statistics Office is advertising for help.   U can hire me to do the report and I will get a bunch of primary school students to help me – we will have a thorough report done in 1st quarter of 2016.

    With all of the computer software that is readily available on the market and with an extremely small sampling of just 1,400 it amazes me that it will take two years to get results. How convenient that it won't be done til after next election.

    By the time all the statistics stuff is published two years will pass and plenty of changes happen in two years.  I really wonder if the private sector would rely on data two years after the fact.

    Less Government, More Responsibility –  coming your way soon



  10. Anonymous says:

    The middle and poor class households spend most of their money on the basics with the little they have (i.e Mortgage, food, Educational Loans, Electricity. Water, Children welfare) and .by paying these astronomical bills they continue to be disenfranchised/burdened between pay checks if they are lucky enough to secure a job in the mistakenly beautiful Cayman Islands, land of our  birth. 

    A comparison that should have been done years ago.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I hope you will make some good choices, as you know, please not to survey too many of the Rich folks – their survey will lbe basically the same.  It is the Middle class and the Poor that will indicate how they have been struggling in their house holds for the past 3 years   Good Luck.

    • Anonymous says:

      You really dont need this survey to find out what and where people are spending their money.  Mortgage, rent, insurance, utility bills, clothing, food.  Also it is a universal truth that indirect taxes impact more on the poor.  Whay else do they need.  Oh yes, another report…..great idea….

    • Anonymous says:

      You are probably struggling in life because of your poor education as evidenced by your bizarre approach to capitalising nouns.  Of Germanic origin you are?

  12. noname says:

    What a waste of time and resources.  Everybody is barely keeping their heads above water.  Cost of living is too high. We are over charged for everything. Most families are struggling to keep clothes on their kids.  There you have it, what will the CIG do to give us all a fair chance at survival. We don't need you to pay our bills but to makeour bills reasonable .