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800 famillies take up redundancy package

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Author Topic: 800 famillies take up redundancy package  (Read 43 times)
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« on: February 24, 2009, 08:14:07 am »

Nearly 800 families are already claiming support under a redundancy rescue package rushed through before Christmas evidence that the recession is hurting people as the Government prepares to host a top-level jobs summit.

The package is expected to ease the financial pain for as many as 70,000 workers over two years.

Low-income workers with families can get as much as $160 a week, on top of the unemployment or domestic-purposes benefit, under the scheme, introduced to help families cope with mortgage payments and other costs after redundancy.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said yesterday there were 771 people getting some form of assistance under the package.

But the payments run out after 16 weeks, and the outlook for new jobs could be bleak, as unemployment continues to rise. Ms Bennett said the payments were designed to give families "breathing space".

Prime Minister John Key announced a top-level jobs summit at the start of the year, as the Government faced criticism that it was not doing enough to prepare the country for recession.

Papers prepared ahead of Friday's summit paint a bleak picture saying numbers on the unemployment benefit are likely to rise to 50,000 by October up from fewer than 20,000 early last year.

Nearly 200 of the country's top business leaders have so far signed up for the jobs summit in Auckland from companies including Telecom, Air New Zealand, Foodstuffs, Fletcher Building, Lion Nathan, Icebreaker, SkyCity, Fonterra and the major banks. The Government is fielding a big contingent of ministers, including Mr Key and Finance Minister Bill English.

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