Wednesday, February 13, 2019

If leftists won't believe the Sally Army, then who?

If I had a dollar for every time some individual or organisation claimed inequality was growing, I'd be rich.

But the latest Salvation Army appraisal of the nation (an annual publication) has this to say:

Our prosperity is fairly shared
The past five years have seen increasing prosperity for most New Zealanders and a very modest narrowing of income inequalities. Those living on welfare benefits remain economically excluded, however.

The last statement is  not correct.

The report goes on to acknowledge this by mentioning extra supplementary assistance, the " one-off increase in benefit rates in 2016" and the winter energy payments.

It does not mention increases in the accommodation supplement, changes to benefit abatement rates allowing some beneficiaries to earn more, the significant Best Start payment for newborns and increases to WFF payments to children in beneficiary households.

They draw a depressing conclusion:

... the numbers of working-age adults receiving a benefit remains constant around 285,000, and this is despite the official unemployment rate in September 2018 sinking to a 10-year low of 3.7% of the workforce. The core of those receiving a benefit, around 150,000 adults, do so for health or disability reasons and so are paid the Supported Living payment or the Jobseeker/Health Condition payment. Their needs and this number of people are unlikely to change even in times of low unemployment. This permanence, alongside the economic exclusion suffered by those reliant
on welfare payments, suggest that a radical re-think is required for setting benefit levels. Such a re-think should look at avoiding the need for top-up and supplementary payments, and could consider indexing benefit levels to changes in wages and salaries as we already do for New Zealand Superannuation.
This final recommendation will undoubtedly be a feature of the Welfare Working Group's report due end of this month.

I don't have a problem with such an indexing, which is what we do for Superannuitants. But don't pretend that beneficiaries have been "economically excluded" without it to make the argument.

No comments: