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More Invalids Under Labour

More Invalids Under Labour

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded that Labour explain why it continued to fail to address rapidly rising beneficiary numbers, in light of new information showing a 32 percent increase in the number of adults supported by the Invalids Benefit.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that in July 1999, 61,363 people were in receipt of the Invalids Benefit. Today it has risen to 81,174 - an increase of around 20,000 in just the past four years," Dr Newman said.

"This is of serious concern, not least because this is a permanent benefit - once someone becomes an Invalids beneficiary, they can remain so for life.

"While the Government has already trumpeted lower numbers on the Unemployment Benefit, it has neglected to publicly say that the numbers supported by the Invalids and Sickness Benefits have grown relentlessly.

"With an increase of more than 30,000 adults supported by the Sickness and Invalids benefits, the Minister needs to reassure the public that these benefits are being correctly administered.

"He should also throw more of his, and his officials', energies into expanding work capacity options for these groups - which he acidly railed against when they were introduced by the previous National Government, but which he is now tentatively promoting," Dr Newman said.

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