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Extra support to help more people into work

Extra support to help more people into work

Budget 2015 helps more people into work and supports the Government’s Better Public Services target of a 25 per cent reduction in the number of people receiving main benefits, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says.

Budget 2015 allocates $32.5 million in new operating funding over the next four years and $1.5 million in 2014/15 to help reduce long-term welfare dependency.

“We are making good progress in reducing the number of people on benefits, which are down by over 11,000 on a year ago, and we are providing increased support to allow more families to live successful lives,” Mrs Tolley says.

New funding of $8.5 million in 2015/16 will provide up to 10,000 extra places for intensive case management, prioritised for people with health conditions and disabilities, to help those who want to work get into work, and to support those at risk of being long-term beneficiaries.

It will also fund an extension of the 3K to Christchurch scheme, which will incorporate locations other than Canterbury where there are significant job vacancies. Around 1,300 people have received the one-off incentive payment to relocate to the Christchurch area for full-time employment since the scheme was introduced in July 2014.

“These initiatives are designed to remove barriers preventing people from working and to help them get off welfare and to thrive,” Mrs Tolley says.

“We are also doing more for young people and for parents to give them the skills and support they need to enter the workplace.”

To prepare young people for work, new operating funding of $15.4 million over the next four years will be invested in the Limited Service Volunteer programme.

This intensive six-week residential programme, run by the New Zealand Defence Force, provides unemployed young people aged between 18 and 25 with life skills, education, motivation and job options to improve their employment prospects. Some 800 placements will be provided each year.

Budget 2015 also invests $8.6 million in new operational funding over the next four years, and $1.5 million in 2014/15, for the Out of School Care and Recreational (OSCAR) subsidy.

OSCAR programmes help families with the costs of before and after school programmes and school holiday programmes.

The additional funding addresses the increase in numbers of children attending OSCAR following the rise in sole parents entering the workforce as a result of welfare reforms and improved economic conditions.

“Budget 2015 builds on our success in moving beneficiaries into employment to help provide a brighter future for themselves and their families,” Mrs Tolley says.

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