Benefit numbers at 20 year low

Anne Tolley announced:

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people receiving a main benefit has continued to fall, with the proportion of the population on a main benefit (9.6 per cent) the lowest it’s been in a March quarter since 1997.

“At the end of the quarter there were 278,236 people on a main benefit, a decrease of 1,655 (0.6 per cent) compared to last year,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Those receiving Sole Parent Support had the largest drop in the last 12 months, falling by 4,175 (6.3 per cent).

“Budget 2015 increased the amount of places for work-focused case management meaning we now have nearly 50,000 sole parents receiving extra advice and guidance. It’s great to see this targeted support is helping more families into independence.

This is excellent news and shows the benefits of reforms.

Over the last six years there are now 53,000 fewer people on a main benefit. That is a drop of 16%.

Those on jobseeker benefits have dropped by 25,000 or 17%.

The huge drop is a 30% reduction in sole parent benefits, by 27,000. We have a wealth of data that children brought up for sustained periods in welfare dependent households have much much more challenging lives.

The level of supported living benefits has only dropped by 1.1% but as that tends to cover people with permanent incapacity, no surprise.

Also pleasing is the number of under 25s on welfare dropped by 28%. Again data shows us that if someone spends time on welfare very young, they are more likely to stay on there for an extended period. Probably or that reason the numbers on welfare for greater than a year has dropped 16% in the last year.

Considering these drops have happened against a rising population, makes then even better news.


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