10 Feb 2011

No work there for beneficiaries, say advocates

8:32 am on 10 February 2011

A beneficiary advocate says a lack of available jobs makes a mockery of government plans to move people off benefits and into work.

Latest figures show the number of unemployment benefit claimants has barely changed in a year, at just over 68,000.

Prime Minister John Key has said the Government will work to get more beneficiaries off benefits and into jobs.

However Rotorua Peoples Union spokesperson Paul Blair says the jobless figures reflect recessionary conditions and there is no work available for those on benefits.

He says he expects benefit tests will be toughened to force people off benefits.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett denies that is the case.

She says the Government knows the job market is tough but beneficiaries will be expected to be work-ready and to try to find work.