“Sole Parents spend on average 14 years on a benefit, but we know that tertiary education can significantly reduce the average time they spend on welfare so we’re making it as easy as possible for them to transition to study.
We knew a decrease in accommodation assistance was a disincentive for sole parents to move off a benefit and into study. This policy removes that barrier to higher education, encouraging more parents to take steps towards sustainable and rewarding employment.
“On average beneficiaries with a tertiary qualification spend six and a half years less on a benefit compared to those without, so supporting them into full time study is a good investment in their futures, and their children’s future,” Mrs Tolley says.
Using 14 years dependent on welfare as the bench mark makes it possible to sell this move as an 'investment'. But why not use NO time on a benefit as the ideal rather than seven and a half years? Why not set policy that encourages people to complete their education before having children?
Paula Bennett made reforms to the Training Incentive Allowance (slammed by the opposition) based on evidence from the Welfare Working Group:
For DPB clients, most Work and Income interventions used appear to have little effect; training interventions are a particular weakness. Fifty-one percent of DPB recipients participating in an intervention took the Training Incentive Allowance, which MSD found to have no effect on the time a beneficiary was likely to spend off benefit – in fact the study found there was a chance TIA slightly increased the average time spent on benefit. MSD did note there was a chance that TIA may have an unobserved long-term impact (after seven years) on time spent off benefit.
Essentially policy creates single parents then more policy is required to ensure they stay dependent for only seven and a half years. We're going backwards.