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Green Leader Calls on Higgs Government to Tackle Child Poverty

by Amanda Wildeman
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Press release

January 15, 2020

Green Leader Calls on Higgs Government to Tackle Child Poverty

Fredericton – Green Party Leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon calls on the Higgs government to make poverty reduction a priority following the release of the Human Development Council’s Child Poverty Report Card. The report states that more than 36 percent of children in Campbellton are living in poverty. For Saint John and Bathurst it is 31%, and even in Fredericton and Moncton, with their booming economies, more than 26% of children are living in poverty.

“On December 20th, 2019, I tabled a bill to combat poverty in the province. Government must ensure that all New Brunswickers have enough income to meet their needs with dignity and this includes some of our most vulnerable population – children,” says Coon,“The Greens have been pushing for this government to act to eradicate poverty in New Brunswick. With the social assistance rates being the same since 2014, families and children are the most effected.”

“There are many ways the Higgs government can reduce child poverty. To begin with, his government can support my bill to amend the Family Income Security Act when we return to the Legislature in order to modernize our inhumane social welfare system. The Premier should implement the child poverty report’s recommendations, including:  to stop the claw-back of child support payments from single parents and adjust welfare rates to account for inflation,” said Coon.

Single-parents, mostly women, on welfare have a total of $9 million dollars in child support payments seized by the government every year. The purchasing power of income recipients has been diminished by $18 million over the past decade as a result of inflation. 

If welfare rates were adjusted for inflation, this would mean a monthly raise of $61.42 for a single parent with one child, $101.50 for a couple with two children, $88.66 per month for singles, $47.62 for singles with designated needs, and $54.81 per month for singles who are disabled.  

“Our social welfare system is failing to look after the welfare of children and their parents, trapping them in poverty. People need enough to provide for their children, so rates must go up and the claw-backs have got to stop,” said Coon.

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Media contact:
Lise-Anne LeBlanc
lise-anne.leblanc@gnb.ca
(506) 429-2285