24 Jun 2012

Rise in numbers seeking budgeting advice

4:42 am on 24 June 2012

The Federation of Family Budgeting Services had a 27% rise in client numbers in the year to June 2011.

It says many new clients have been made redundant or forced into insolvency or mortgagee sales as a result of the recession.

Chief executive Raewyn Fox says in the last few years, budgeting services has received funding from the Government's Community Response Fund.

But she says that has been discontinued and more funding would help.

The federation says a one-off Government funding boost it received of $589,000 will not be enough to cover the increase in people needing budgeting help.

"Funding is not keeping pace with the increases particularly because we have been relying on the Community Response Fund and that is now finished. So there is a lot of fear going forwards about what comes next."

The Salvation Army says it is also struggling to cope with the number of people now seeking help with budgeting.

Major Pam Waugh says the Salvation Army has had a 33% increase in the number of people needing budgeting advice in the last year and 52% in the last three years.

Major Waugh says because the Salvation Army never turns anyone away, its resources are getting more and more stretched.

One off boost

A spokesperson for the Social Development Minister says the one-off Government funding boost was never supposed to be a long-term solution for stretched budgeting services.

She says the $589,000 is simply money left over after the Minister under-spent, and Paula Bennett believed the money could best be used by budgeting services.

The Minister's spokesperson says all budgeting services have ongoing funding arrangements with the Ministry of Social Development, and these agreements are being looked at.