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Fairer Future: Government Needs To Go Further With Benefit Increases

The Fairer Future collaboration is calling on the Labour-led Government to increase income support rates further to catch up with the cost of living.

The collaboration, which is made up of service providers, advocacy groups and unions, released research on Tuesday which shows the shortfalls people on income support face, even after today's increases.

The work compares Welfare Expert Advisory Group family cost estimates, inflation-adjusted for 2022, to Government estimates of April 2022 benefit entitlements, and found some of the country’s worst-off families will face shortfalls of up to $300 a week.

Fairer Future spokesperson Ruby Powell says, “The Government needs to level up on income support; as prices and costs rise, so too should the income support available.”

“Considering the significant rise in inflation, increasing fuel and food prices, and skyrocketing rents, many families are struggling, despite their best efforts.”

Powell says the Government can and must do more to ensure income support rates are increased to liveable levels.

“We will be looking for further increases to income support in Budget 2022.”

The research by the Fairer Future group showed in mid-2022, a couple with three children receiving Jobseeker will need around $300 extra a week to meet their total costs, including participation costs, such as for children's sport and contingency for unexpected bills. This means they’re missing well over a quarter of the income they need to be able to live with dignity and take part in their communities. To meet just their core costs, including everyday necessities such as rent, food and power, they still need an additional $165 a week.

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A sole parent with three children will require around $240 more a week to meet total costs (almost a quarter - 23% - more income), or an additional $111 a week solely to meet core costs. A single person receiving Jobseeker and sharing a house will need about $90 more every week (or 22% additional income) to cover all costs, and an additional $50 a week to cover core costs. Without debt repayments, only one of the 13 households is able to cover their total costs: the 1-parent, 1-child family receiving Best Start (additional support for children under 3) and sharing a house. If low repayments of debt were included in the modelling, none of the 13 model households in the updated research would be able to meet their total costs.

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