Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people receiving a benefit is continuing to decline year on year, with sole parents driving the biggest reduction in numbers.

“The number of people receiving a main benefit has fallen by 4,339 or 1.4 per cent in the last 12 months. This puts the proportion of the population (10.3 per cent) receiving a main benefit at the lowest it’s been in a December quarter since before the Global Financial Crisis,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Sole parents continue to show a willingness to move into independence, with 3,410 (5 per cent) fewer people now receiving Sole Parent Support compared to the same time last year.

“All regions saw a fall in this benefit type compared to December 2015, with the strongest reductions in Bay of Plenty and Auckland, down 9 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.

“By investing in intensive support and training as well providing ongoing help with study and childcare, we’ve made it easier for sole parents to find and stay in work.

“We know that children who grow up in benefit dependent homes are less likely to achieve NCEA Level 2, more likely to be notified to Child, Youth and Family, and more likely to end up on a benefit themselves.

“Supporting parents into employment or study not only increases their incomes, but also sets a strong example for their children and helps break the cycle of intergenerational welfare dependence.

“It’s great to see more families now living independently – we know that it’s good for parents and much better for their children.”

The latest benefit data is available at:

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