4 May 2020

Budgeting services request more funding to handle unemployment increase

7:40 pm on 4 May 2020

Budgeting services are calling for a doubling of their funding to help deal with an expected tidal wave of people seeking help.

New Zealand currency held fanned out in someones hand

Photo: 123rf.com

Some commentators are picking unemployment to hit double digits in the coming weeks as businesses close due to the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Fincap is the umbrella group for the country's 200 budgeting services.

Its head, Tim Barnett, said the $11 million they received last year would not do the job this time around, and he was hopeful of some good news in next week's budget.

"If unemployment goes to 12 percent, that's triple [the current rate], and we'd expect the demand to triple as well. That's going to be impossible for us to meet at the standard we want. So [we are] absolutely needing more support."

Barnett urged those in financial trouble to contact budgeting services before they saddled themselves with credit card debt or pay day loans.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Shirley McCombe was preparing to deal with people facing joblessness for the first time in their lives.

"There are a lot of people who may have even continued to work for less hours during the lockdown or who have not been working for a period of time and living on the subsidy, and we're going to see all of those people coming to us in time I'd imagine."

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