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Alliance supports CPAG report on child poverty

Alliance supports CPAG report on child poverty

November 15 2004

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is right when it says the Government's Working for Families package will increase the gap between beneficiaries and workers.

The Alliance Party says beneficiaries have waited far too long for justice. It is calling for an immediate increase in benefits, especially to beneficiary families with children. Alliance incoming president Jill Ovens says a major cause of child poverty is, put simply, not enough income, indicated by the high number of people needing a special benefit to supplement their income. Overwhelmingly these are women on the domestic purposes benefit struggling to feed and clothe their children.

"There has been little movement in benefit levels since Ruth Richardson cut the incomes of the most vulnerable in our society in her 'Mother of all Budgets'," she says.

The Alliance says benefits need to be increased every year to match gains of unionised workers. Ms Ovens says the Alliance welcomed some aspects of the Working for Families package as a significant redistribution of money in favour of low-income working families.

"We supported changes in abatement levels and the 20-hours free childcare provided for in the Budget, but these will take too long to come in and will not help the 175,000 of our poorest children whose parents are dependent on benefits to survive." The Alliance advocates a more progressive taxation system that will benefit all those on low-incomes while increasing taxes for those on higher incomes, rather than the discriminatory approach of targeting rewards to working families through the new "In-Work" payment.

"The benefits of a stronger economy should be redistributed to ensure that no child is excluded from full participation in society because they are poor. It shouldn't make any difference where their parents' income comes from."

The Alliance supports CPAG's call for a concerted effort to reduce child poverty through affordable housing, reduction of unmanageable household debt, limits on gambling, free healthcare and disability services, more funding for well child services and early intervention, and more teachers in schools in poor areas.


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