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Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people dependent on welfare continues to drop, with sole parents and young jobseekers leading the way in moving off benefits.

“At the end of the quarter there were 276,331 people receiving a main benefit, a decrease of 3,846 (1.4 per cent) in the last 12 months. This puts the proportion of the population (9.6 per cent) at the lowest it’s been in a June quarter since before the Global Financial Crisis,” says Mrs Tolley. 

“Sole parents had the biggest reduction in numbers, with 4,791 (7.3 per cent) fewer people now receiving Sole Parent Support compared to this time last year. All regions saw a fall in this benefit type, with the biggest decreases in Bay of Plenty and Nelson, down 12.7 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively.

“The Government’s focus on intensive support and training, alongside growing the economy to deliver more jobs and higher wages is making it easier for sole parents to find and stay in work. 

“More young jobseekers are also moving off benefits, with the number of 18-24 year olds on Jobseeker Support falling by 1,005 (4.2 per cent) compared to last year.

“We know those who go on a benefit at a young age are more likely to stay on welfare for longer. By investing in initiatives such as Kaikohe Grow in Northland and Project 1000 in Hawke’s Bay, we’re helping more young beneficiaries into employment, education and training.

“The Government also recently invested $50 million to help at-risk young people with complex needs into jobs in regional New Zealand.

“Targeting support to young people and sole parents has been a priority for us because helping them off benefits will allow them and their families to thrive.”

The latest benefit data is available at https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/index.html

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