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Budget takes small steps for children

21 May 2015

Budget takes small steps for children

Today’s Budget has taken some small steps towards providing relief to the families and children living in poverty, with an increase in benefits and changes to Working for Families.

“The Prime Minister acknowledged after the election that children are missing out and he said child poverty would be a priority. For years now, child health data has shown there is an urgent need to improve the standard of living for children, and evidence points to the central role of public policy in this,” said UNICEF NZ National Advocacy Manager, Deborah Morris-Travers.

“While it is unclear how many families will be lifted out of poverty by the announcement today, the increased benefits will provide some relief for 110,000 families and improvements to Working for Families will provide relief to 200,000 families.”

The ongoing social and economic costs of poverty and poor child outcomes are significant – with an estimated drain on the economy of $8-10bn every year.

Investing in families currently struggling to meet their children’s needs, will result in progress for all New Zealanders. Cash transfers have the added benefit of helping boost the economy through increasing the spending of families and reducing the costs associated with the high health needs of babies and children living in poverty.

“While these are just small steps, UNICEF NZ welcomes the Government’s focus on families on benefits and preparedness to improve Working for Families.

“Other important announcements today include the additional investment in special needs education, steps to increase housing supply, additional investment in the Children’s Action Plan and more funding for Child, Youth and Family.

“We will continue working with the Government to encourage a sustained focus on children and we will actively campaign for future increases to family incomes right through until Budget 2016,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.

ends

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