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Families Miss Out on Living Adjustment

17 March 2004

Families Miss Out On Cost Of Living Adjustment

Children are missing out once again on the annual inflation adjustment, which has been announced today by the Ministry of Social Development. The payment increase of 1.55% will apply to benefits, superannuation and student allowances from April 1, but not to Family Support.

“It is illogical and unfair that low income families who rely on Family Support payments to feed and clothe their children have not received an increase since 1996, while students, beneficiaries and superannuitants receive an increase in their income every year to cover the cost of living as a matter of course” says Child Poverty Action Group economics spokesperson Susan St John.
“Is the government suggesting that inflation only affects some poor people and not others?”

Since 1986, the poorest one-child family in New Zealand has had a rise of only $5 a week in Family Support. To take inflation into account, their Family Support should now be around $74 a week - instead, it is only $47. The payment starts to reduce from extremely low income levels which have largely remained the same for 15 years.
“No amount of budgeting and juggling can help if you simply do not have enough money,” says Ms St John. “Australia has Family Support payments which are much more generous and annually updated for inflation.”

The Child Poverty Action Group calls for the government to restore Family Support to its former levels for all children and regularly adjust it so that children never have to play “catch-up” again.


ENDS

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