Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The DPB problem remains

The following is a graph contained in a report released yesterday into the 2002 DPB reforms. The 'reforms' constituted removal of work-testing and implementation of Personal Development Plans. At a glance the results look promising.

Account should however be taken of the following;

1/ Between September 99 and September 06 there has been a drop of about 10,000. Over the same period there has been an increase in the number of single parents with dependent children on either the Sickness or Invalid's Benefits of over 4,000.

2/ An unknown number have moved onto the In Work payment which means they are still receiving the same or greater level of assistance with, in some cases, no change to their hours of work.

3/ The demographic from which the DPB draws is shrinking

4/ In the year 2006 alone 500 recipients moved on to Super.

Overall the employment rate of single mothers is however rising. It has climbed from around 40% in 1999 to just over 50% in 2006. That's the good news (although given overall unemployment dropped from 7.4 to 3.6 percent between 1999 and 2006 one might have expected a larger rise).

The bad news is the exit rates fell for those with children over 14 and those with;

- no qualifications
- who were teenagers when their oldest child was born
- who had already spent a large proportion of their time in the benefit system
- Maori and Pacific recipients

So my argument remains that we are not reforming the DPB in any way that will prevent more people with these characteristics (or who will develop them) from entering the system in the first place. Therein lies the problem. One neither Labour nor National seem prepared to face.

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