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Government targets youth on benefit

Published: 2:16PM Friday June 15, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Social Development Minister Paula Bennett  (Source: Close Up)
    Social Development Minister Paula Bennett - Source: Close Up

New legislation will mean some teens will not receive any money from Work and Income if they are not in education and training, the social development minister says.

Paula Bennett told TV ONE's Breakfast the Social Security Amendment Bill, which went through its second reading in Parliament yesterday, will target 16 to 17-year-olds who are most in need.

"We're going to be really wrapping services around them.

"They're not going to get any money from Work and Income unless they are in education and training."

The bill aims to stop thousands of young teens who are not in employment, education or training from turning to the benefit.

Bennett also announced yesterday that $62 million would be allocated to the new "Job Streams" package from July 1.

The package will offer up to $21,060 a year in wage subsidies for people most at risk of staying on benefit. And employers will get up to $7000 to help train a new worker.

Bennett said priority will be given to young people who are at high risk of long-term benefit dependence. Sole parents subject to new work obligations will also qualify from October.

The "Job Streams" scheme will replace current programmes, including Job Opps and the industry training scheme Straight to Work.

"I had a really good look at it and I've said we've got great evidence now on what actually does work."

She said she has spoken to employers and they want something that is easy to administer.