The Green Party is calling on Labour to expand the temporary cost of living payment to those most in need.
“The $350 Cost of Living Payment should be available to those who need it the most. Labour can do that today by including people on the benefit as well as under 18's on Youth Payment and in work,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green Spokesperson for Social Welfare.
“Excluding people from the Cost of Living Payment because they already receive government support means more families will be unable to make ends meet through the winter. It is punitive and unfair.
“The Green Party is calling on Labour to reconsider this poorly targeted approach. Additional temporary assistance should be provided to those who need it most.
“The legislation to introduce the Cost of Living Payment, which Parliament has debated today, doesn’t set out the eligibility requirements, so Labour can still decide to broaden it - and that’s what we’re asking them to do.
“In 2020, the Government doubled the Winter Energy Payment to provide extra support. Now, they’re saying that people who get this payment shouldn’t have any top up - despite rising costs of living, and despite slow progress on child poverty targets.”
The Green Party is also calling for investment in long term solutions, including increasing benefits to liveable levels, increasing and expanding Working for Families, and expanding the Income Related Rent Subsidy to local councils.
“Poverty is a political choice. No one should be struggling to pay the power bills or feed their kids in this country. People on the lowest incomes need a government that is committed to liveable incomes for everyone - and with more Green MPs we can make it happen,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.