Drive to make tax credits work better for low income whānau

By Harata Brown

Child Poverty Action Group are calling on the Government to strengthen Working For Families tax credits to better support low-income families.

Marama Davidson knows what it's like to raise a family. She has six children and she says family support payments need to be strengthened to provide better support for low-income families.

“Whānau face huge struggles, high house and rent prices, the huge cost to get to work and also to pay for childcare,” says Davidson.

Today, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) launched their Fix Working For Families campaign. It aims to make the current In-Work Tax Credit available to all low income families.

Economic Spokesperson for CPAG, Susan St John says, “It is (Working for Families) badly designed, it manages to leave the poorest children out of the significant amount of it, it's got so complicated people can’t understand it anymore. It’s far past time that the Government did something about this, and did something substantial. 

The In-Work Tax Credit can offer a top-up payment of more than $70 per week to parents who work more than 20 hours a week. But CPAG says all low-income parents should be eligible to receive it through Working for Families.

“Now that payment is not able to be received if a family has any kind of benefit, or there is a student allowance paid to the parent, or the parent is on Superannuation. So, there is a whole lot of children who miss out, and then there's another group and they are the group who don't have regular hours of work necessarily,” says St John.

CPAG hopes that their recommendations will be reflected in the 2016 Budget and they are calling on the public to share their stories.