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Low-income families’ household budgets hit harder

Analysis shows low-income families’ household budgets hit harder than reported.

Low-income families in one of New Zealand’s poorest suburbs are facing far higher increases in their weekly grocery bills than the reported consumer price index rise.

The Salvation Army’s Consumer Price Survey (attached) of prices at a South Auckland supermarket, released today, shows a typical sole-parent family has seen a 9.1 per cent jump in its cost of living in the last year.

The Salvation Army has been monitoring the cost of the same basket of food, cleaning and personal hygiene products from the same South Auckland supermarket every quarter since June 2008.

The Salvation Army’s Consumer Price Survey showed increases for the year to June 2011 of 9.1 per cent for a single-parent family with two children and 8.2 per cent for a two-parent family with three children. This contrasts markedly with Statistics New Zealand’s all groups CPI rise of 5.3 per cent and food inflation of 7.5 per cent for the same period.

Salvation Army Social Policy Unit director Major Campbell Roberts says the cost of living increase for one of New Zealand’s most materially disadvantaged communities highlights the strain on some families whose incomes rise at a substantially lower rate.

“The survey emphasises the fact that we, as a country, are failing to address the growing poverty problem,” he says.

“For the families The Salvation Army is seeing, it is becoming harder and harder to put nutritious food on the table. This survey of grocery costs simply puts a number to their struggle,” Major Roberts says.

The Salvation Army’s Low-Income CPI is derived from a survey of a basket of groceries at the best price at the time of the survey. It is based on Statistics New Zealand Consumer Price Index but uses a smaller number of commodities and services, and takes into account that low-income families have different spending patterns than middle-income households.

Issued on the Authority of Commissioner Donald Bell (Territorial Commander) The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory

ENDS

Living_costs_Update_Jun11.doc

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