Benefit numbers show scale of repair job ahead

Benefit numbers released today paint a grim picture of the previous government’s economic mismanagement, Social Development and Employment Minister, Louise Upston says.

“The fact there is now 66,759 more people receiving Jobseeker support than in December 2017 speaks to the culture of benefit dependency that is Labour’s legacy.

“Despite widespread workforce shortages, the previous government’s polices saw them leave office with 189,798 people reliant on Jobseeker Support – up 19,695 in just the past year. 

“Labour was either unable, or unwilling, to get people off welfare and into work. As a result, we’re already close to MSD’s forecast of Jobseeker Support numbers hitting 198,500 in January 2025.

“Our Welfare that Works policy will fix this by using community providers to give young job seekers a job coach, a plan to address their barriers to employment, and a proper needs assessment to help them find suitable work.

“We will introduce a traffic light system that makes it clear to those on Jobseeker Support what their obligations are to prepare for or find work, and what the consequences will be if they refuse.

“The coalition Government has already begun delivering for job seekers by indexing main benefits to inflation from April 1, to keep up with rising costs, and extending the availability of 90-day trials, giving all businesses the confidence to take a chance on new employees.

“This government believes people are better off in employment, both financially and socially. For those who can work, it is the best way out of hardship.”

“We will be relentlessly focused on getting unemployed people into suitable work, providing them with greater independence, choice and opportunity to get ahead.”

MSD’s quarterly benefit fact sheets can be found here.