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Supporting children in hardship focus of Budget

21 May 2015


Supporting children in hardship focus of Budget


The National-led Government’s seventh Budget continues to support New Zealanders while responsibly managing the growing economy and the Government’s finances, Prime Minister John Key says.

In particular, it will deliver a $790 million package to help children living in some of New Zealand’s poorest families.

The package includes a balanced mix of greater work expectations for sole parents and more financial support for parents on a benefit. Benefit rates for families with children will increase by $25 a week after tax, from 1 April next year. This is the first increase outside inflation adjustments since 1972.

“After the last election, I said children in hardship were a Government priority and by building a strong economy we can provide more support for them,” Mr Key says. “Increasing the weekly payment for beneficiary families and lifting Working for Families payments to low-income households will make a real difference by allowing parents to better provide for their children.

“Two-thirds of children in more severe material hardship have a parent on a benefit, with nine out of 10 of those being sole parents, so it’s important to focus attention on this group of families.”

Lower-income working families that are not on a benefit also get an increase in their Working for Families payments and there is more childcare support to help low-income parents in work.

“Billions of dollars are already invested every year in supporting low-income families and we’re also addressing the long-term drivers of material hardship like poor educational achievement,” Mr Key says.

“But there is still a group of children who, through no fault of their own, are in families where there is considerable hardship. We are firmly focused on helping these children out of the cycle of hardship.”

ends

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