Saturday, August 29, 2020

The oft repeated error about 1991 benefit cuts


This letter seems to be affirming what mine said about familiy stability - not cash hand-outs - improving a child's prospects. The writer grew up in a state house with security of tenure and a loving mother. Lone parents can also provide stability and security.

But I wanted to take issue with the last section because it's an error often repeated.

Benefits to sole mothers were not cut by 25%. From Tim Garlick's 'Social Developments': "Lone parents faced significant cuts: 10.7 percent for beneficiaries with one child; 8.9 percent for those with two children." 

At the same time means-tested Family Support for beneficiary children was increased and Community Services cards were introduced to subsidise health services for low income. 

In addition the maximum Child Care subsidy increased from $32 to $65 per week to assist parents to take employment.

The latter developments from the reform period have been forgotten over time.


oneblokesview said...

I remember being at a Gareth Morgan ""talk"" many years ago where he said that the Mother of all budgets welfare custs were an effort in gaining more workers!!! Aparently NZ was suffering a worker shortage and cutting benefits was a way to get them back to work.

Dont know how true that was? or was Gareth pandering to his then audience of business types....

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Unlikely given the unemployment rate hit 11.5% in September that year. I wasn't very politically aware in those days but I was guess the cuts were about austerity and not making welfare too comfortable because the number dependent was at it's highest point ever - 16.1% of the working age population (compared to 11.9% currently). They were tough times. Took me three months to find work when I returned from the UK that year.