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Budget 2017 invests $64.4 million of new operating funding to help people move off benefits and into work, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says.

“A proactive approach to supporting clients to prepare for employment has seen the number of people receiving a main benefit continue to fall,” Mrs Tolley says.

“The proportion of the population on a main benefit is the lowest it’s been in a March quarter since 1997, at 9.6 per cent.

“Of the $64.4 million, $19.5 million will be allocated over three years as part of the Budget 2017 Social Investment Package to expand intensive support for up to 1,500 clients across the country who first received a benefit prior to age 20 and are now aged 25 to 39.

“Through intensive work-focused case management, staff listen and adapt the way clients are advised and supported to align more with an individual’s needs.”

The new investment also includes, over four years:

$6 million in youth-focused enterprise education initiatives, to extend development, leadership and mentoring in the area of business studies and social enterprise learning. $4.1 million through the Government’s Social Investment Package to support an extra 1,000 clients with mental health conditions in Christchurch and Waitemata to find and maintain employment. $34.8 million to meet increased costs of the Ministry of Social Development’s current services.

“This Government is committed to supporting people into work so they can lead independent and successful lives,” Mrs Tolley says.

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