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Budget benefit lift a mean trick


Budget benefit lift a mean trick

This Budget’s approach to welfare is a mean trick aimed at fooling anti-poverty lobbyists into thinking something meaningful is being achieved.

“The promise of $25 a week extra for beneficiaries with children sounds good, but is too little, too late, and in many cases meaningless,” says Sue Bradford, a spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty.

“If the Government was serious about dealing with poverty, it would lift benefits now to the same levels as superannuation, indexed to the average wage instead of inflation.

“It would also be raising core benefits for people without children, many of whom live with unemployment, sickness and disability in the starkest of circumstances. They need help too.

“As it is, those people lucky enough to get a rise will have to wait nearly a year.

“On top of that, for many recipients much of the extra income will disappear again through the loss of the TAS (Temporary Additional Support) supplement.

“Even worse, under cover of this seemingly generous announcement, National has mounted two further attacks on beneficiaries already reeling from the effect of Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms.

“Most parents on benefits will now have to start looking for work from the time their youngest child is 3 years old, down from 5.

'“This is a direct attack on parents, mainly women, and their children. The additional benefit paymen ts will in no way compensate for the costs of transport, clothing and childcare inflicted by work search requirements.

“Part time worktesting requirements will go from 15 to 20 hours a week, making it even harder for struggling sole parents, and people with sickness, injury and disability to comply with Work & Income requirements without losing their benefits in the process.

“The only winners will be employers who get to pay bottom wages to desperate jobseekers harassed by MSD, and the government, which wants to see 100,000 beneficiaries out of the welfare system within ten years, no matter the cost to peoples’ mental and physical health.

“These two changes were an integral part of the Welfare Working Group’s recommendations back in 2011.

“No doubt Paula Bennett and Paula Rebstock are delighted to see two more of their punitive proposals implemented today.

Tomorrow Auckland Action Against Poverty will be holding a protest outside John Key’s post-Budget speech to the Trans Tasman Business Circle.

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