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September benefit figures disappointing

The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. 

“The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that it is even harder for people on a benefit to find work or go in to study.

“By focusing only on a reduction in the number of sole parents the Minister of Social Development is missing the bigger picture. Only 38.8% of sole parents whose benefit was cancelled actually went into work. This is even less than the figures from September 2015.

“Fewer people are going in to study, with a 25% reduction since September 2014. Further study and training should be supported so people can work towards long-term stable employment.

“But instead the Government is more focused on the short-term reduction in benefit numbers, and ignoring the cycle of benefit usage this is creating.

“The latest benefit figures also show a huge increase in the need for additional financial support through payments like Temporary Additional Support and the Special Needs Grant. More families are struggling to make ends meet and need additional assistance.

“Rising housing costs are taking up increasing portions of people's income, leaving little for other everyday essentials like food. The main reason people needed these payments was for food, with 103,173 payments made so families could afford to eat.

“The Government is ignoring these families in need, and refusing to address the real issues that are creating rising poverty amongst Kiwi children,” says Carmel Sepuloni.