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Risk of increases in ‘working poor’ from National’s policies

1 November 2011

Risk of increases in ‘working poor’ from National’s welfare policies

“National’s policy to get 46, 000 people off benefits provides no answers about where the jobs are coming from or any recognition about how tough it is for people in the job market right now” said CTU welfare spokesperson Eileen Brown.

The policy misses the point that the Welfare Working Group failed to grasp - that is when there are jobs available the benefit numbers drop. Thousands of the people targeted by this policy are on a benefit because they have been made redundant, their company has wound up or they have given up looking for a job because there just aren’t any around.

Eileen Brown said “we would support any initiatives that ensure people who are genuinely able to work get the assistance they need to find a job that suits their talents and abilities. But we object to policies that force people to work when they are the best people to care for their children. Society would not tolerate this for anyone else in the community.”

“This policy will push people into any kind of work, no matter how much it is paid or its quality. That means many vulnerable people will end up in low quality, insecure, low paid work, which will not increase their incomes or improve their quality of life. Low quality, badly paid work is as bad as unemployment for those affected. It puts both children and workers at risk.”

“These policies include the possibility of a sole mother with two children including a 12 month old baby having the benefit removed if she won’t accept low paid work.”

The financial savings that the National Party claims must also be questioned because low paid employment incurs many other welfare costs including accommodation supplements and WFF tax credits. Two out of every five children living in poverty are in households with at least one fulltime working adult. There is a high risk that we are simply moving these families from poverty under benefits to poverty in work, along with less contact between parents and children.

“Given the current job market our fear is that National’s policies will just create a whole lot more working poor,” stated Eileen Brown.


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