Benefit figures steady

09 October – September has seen a small increase in the number of people on benefits says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. Over the last few months the total number of people on benefits has held at between 321,000 and 319,000.

Benefit figures rose by 0.5 per cent to 320,942 compared with 328,496 in September 2011. This is the lowest overall benefit………figure for September since 2008. “There are over 7,500 fewer people on a benefit this September than last, and we need to work hard to ensure this overall decline continues,” says Mrs Bennett.

Job seekers on the Unemployment Benefit increased by 0.2 per cent to 50,390 during September and there are 139 fewer people on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. Total benefit figures in Canterbury were down again in September, dropping by 129 to 27,456. This 12.6 per cent decrease over the year is driven by people leaving Unemployment Benefits.

“It’s pleasing to see sole parents moving off benefit and continued improvements in the Canterbury jobs market,” says Mrs Bennett. People also continued to cancel their benefits as they found work. “Over the last month 5,230 people left their benefit to move into a new job and the goal is to help more do so through work focused welfare changes,” says Mrs Bennett.