2015 Budget must make child poverty a priority

Child poverty is New Zealand's major social and economic issue says Child Poverty Action Group, and reaching all children affected by poverty will require significant extra funding.

Child poverty is New Zealand's major social and economic issue says Child Poverty Action Group, and reaching all children affected by poverty will require significant extra funding.

In a submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the Budget Policy Statement 2015, CPAG says reducing the rate and depth of child poverty must be the first priority in the 2015 budget.  Budget measures need to extend across improving incomes for low income families supported by benefits or wages, tax credits, housing, health, education and increasing the number of adequately paid jobs. 

CPAG says the budget direction "to reduce income taxes from 2017 with a focus on low and middle-income earners" would prevent the Government finding enough funds to address child poverty.   Spokesperson Associate Professor Michael O'Brien says, "Tax cuts would be irresponsible while so many children are affected by poverty.  It's very hard to see how government could target tax cuts at low income families alone. Any reductions in the two lowest tax rates would also go in full to all those on incomes over $48,000. Even if the reductions are small they would be very expensive while giving little to those who need them most."  

In its submission CPAG also says highly targeted programmes, which  rely on identifying the most disadvantaged or 'vulnerable families' according to set criteria, are likely to miss many children in need and will offer little broad protection. 

Michael O'Brien says, "We are concerned by indications in the Budget Policy Statement that the Government will simply look to move financial support from one group of low income children to another group.  This will not materially address child poverty.  Significant amounts of new funding are needed to achieve the broad changes required to address this difficult problem."

Read CPAG's full submission here: Budget Policy Statement 2015 

2015 Budget must make child poverty a priority

 
 
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