Simon Collins is the Herald’s education reporter.

$3000 offer for beneficiaries to move

Minister for social housing Paula Bennett. Photo / Dean Purcell
Minister for social housing Paula Bennett. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Government will pay beneficiaries $3000 to move to cities such as Auckland for work - but the Budget doesn't mention Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett's plan to pay social housing tenants $5000 to move out of Auckland.

In a welfare budget of little change, the only big extra spending is a boost for Child, Youth and Family of $95 million a year (up 18.6 per cent) by 2019-20 to fund a massive expansion of the agency's role recommended by the recent taskforce led by Dame Paula Rebstock.

In the absence of other new spending, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley trumpeted $26 million over four years to maintain targeted case management for 120,000 beneficiaries and fund the "3K to Work" scheme. This is a $3000 grant originally just for beneficiaries moving to work in Christchurch, but extended last December to cover all beneficiaries in intensive case management moving to any new location to take up work.

But the actual budget for work assistance grants is barely increasing, from $3.6 million this year to $3.9 million by 2019-20.

Mrs Bennett's spokesman said there was also no extra money in the Budget for the $5000 grant for 150 social housing tenants to move out of Auckland that was announced on Wednesday.

"It's not new money. It was reprioritising or retooling existing money that was available," he said.

The new grant would be available from June 20.

Meanwhile the boost to Child, Youth and Family's budget provides most, but not all, of the extra funding proposed in the Rebstock report.

The report proposed boosting total spending on a new "super-CYF" agency by $524 million a year to $1.3 billion by 2019-20. But $421 million of this was to come out health, education and other services to focus spending on the most at-risk families, leaving an increase in net spending of $134 million a year by 2019-20.

The Budget provides for an increase of $95 million a year by then, including $51.4 million which is tagged as a "contingency", indicating the details have not yet been decided.

Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills said the extra money "demonstrates that the Government is taking child abuse seriously".

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Welfare

• Child protection funding boosted by 18.6 per cent by 2019-20.

• No changes to benefits or accommodation supplement.

• Budgets for other social services also unchanged but spending shifted to support grants such as "3K to work".

- NZ Herald

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