Young on benefits targeted

Paula Bennett
Paula Bennett
The National Party has released some ambitious targets for the reduction of benefit numbers, including offering incentive payments for beneficiaries to stay in work for a set period of time.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the aim was to bring benefit numbers down from 295,000 to 220,000 people over the next three years.

The target included reducing the total number of young people on a benefit by 40%, or about 21,000 people, over the next three years.

Acknowledging the targets were ambitious, Mrs Bennett said since December 2010, nearly 60,000 had come off welfare.

Over the past two years, 30,000 had gone from living in a benefit-dependent home to a working one.

Other parts of the plan included offering more childcare support by expanding the flexible childcare pilot scheme and making first-time Work and Income assessments more comprehensive so people were directed to the right support from the start, she said.

''Our target of a 40% reduction of young people on benefit is a bold one but 53,000 young people aged between 16 and 20 on welfare is too many for a country with prospects like ours.''


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