7 Nov 2021

Boost to family benefits should be in time for Christmas - charity

5:55 pm on 7 November 2021

Changes to family social support payments should start before Christmas because too many families are struggling now, a children's charity says.

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Photo: 123rf

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday announced a slight increase to the Family Tax Credit and Best Start Payments. It will raise 346,000 families incomes by an average of $20 a week from April next year.

However the children's commissioner and groups working with families in poverty have called the amount of the increase and the scope disappointing and out of touch.

Save the Children advocacy and research director Jacqui Southey said families are hurting, particular those in Tāmaki Makaurau who are still in the grip of lockdown.

"Bring them forward through Christmas so that money can be useful and make a real difference to families that are already struggling to pay for the basics."

Southey said the increase promised for April would be welcomed, but it doesn't measure up to the real-life needs, and families should at least have a living wage.

"This is a good start, but more needs to be done if we are to make meaningful change for Aotearoa's tamariki and their whānau."

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