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Family Support Increases A Start, But More Is Needed

Small increases in family support announced today are a welcome step, but much more is needed to make a significant change for children and whānau, Children’s Commissioner Judge Frances Eivers says.

The Government today announced small increases to the Family Tax Credit and some other payments which would make about 346,000 families better off by an average of $20 a week.

“For those families doing it tough even $20 a week is good news, especially considering the hardship for mokopuna and their whānau due to the effect of COVID-19,” Commissioner Eivers says.

“This is a welcome small step to improve the family tax credit following benefit increases announced in this year’s budget.

“However, this level of increase to family incomes is not enough. Much more will be needed if we are serious about making a real difference for mokopuna.

“As the Government continues to review the Working for Families scheme, I urge it to pick up the challenge of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, and significantly increase family tax credit payments for every child in every lower income family.”

In its 2019 report, the WEAG recommended<http://www.weag.govt.nz/weag-report/whakamana-tangata/achieving-security-requires-adequate-income/immediate-steps-towards-adequacy/> the maximum family tax credit increase to $170 for the first child with rates for subsequent children also recommended to rise.

“In a country with the resources of Aotearoa every mokopuna, no matter their background, should grow up in a whānau that has what they need to thrive,” Commissioner Eivers says.

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