September 08, 2021
Early benefit increase would ease lockdown pressure
Child Poverty Action Group wants next year’s benefit increase brought forward to help whānau through the lockdown.
Spokesperson Janet McAllister says the latest lockdown has triggered the largest weekly increase in benefit recipient numbers since the first lockdown last year, and food grants near the end of August were double what they were at the same time last year.
She says last year the Government acknowledged lockdowns are tough for people on fixed or low income and took steps to help such as doubling the winter energy payment.
This time it seems business as usual.
“What we would like to see is the Government to at least bring the benefit increases they have promised next year in early to account for all those lockdown expenses. That would be a finite expense for the Government to at least alleviate some of the toxic stress of poverty our communities are having to deal with because of lockdown,” Ms McAllister says.
Compared to the start of the first lockdown, an additional 22,000 children were in benefit-receiving families in June this year.