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Working for Families helping more NZ families

22 April 2008

Working for Families helping more NZ families

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Minister for Social Development and Employment Ruth Dyson said today that more than 370,000 families received Working for Families tax credits in the year ending March 2007, exceeding the original estimate of 360,000 families one year ahead of schedule.

Helen Clark and Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson today launched an evaluation report into Working for Families at an event at the Christchurch Community House, a centre for social and community agencies.

“The evaluation report prepared by the Ministry for Social Development and the Inland Revenue Department shows Working for Families is making a big difference for low and middle-income families with children,” Helen Clark said.

“Around three-quarters of the families receiving the package are earning less than $50,000 a year.

“The largest gains have been improved living standards for families working or moving into work. Families are most commonly using their tax relief to go towards grocery and utility bills, children’s education and other day-to-day expenses.

“Working for Families is designed to lift incomes and make work pay for around seventy per cent of New Zealand families with children, by providing around $1.6 billion per year in tax credits and help with accommodation and childcare costs.

“The Labour-led Government recognises that many families are under financial pressure, and Programmes like Working for Families are an important part of our efforts to raise living standards,” Helen Clark said.

Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said Working for Families has also significantly lifted the incomes of beneficiaries with children.

“The 1 April 2007 increase of $10 per child per week to Family Tax Credit will have further improved the position of beneficiaries since the data was analysed for this report,” Ruth Dyson said.

“The higher-than-expected uptake of the package is due in no small part to the efforts of Work and Income and Inland Revenue staff. They have been working closely with community groups, employers, schools, and early childhood education providers to ensure that those families who may qualify for assistance know how to apply.

“As a result an estimated 95% to 97% of eligible families have been receiving Working for Families tax credits,” Ms Dyson said.


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