Government ends claw-back

THe rich get richer -- as the BC government gives the wealthy disproportionately more than children whose families are on welfare.

The province came out with a new budget last week. Good news for rural areas is the firm goal of expanding high-speed Internet access to all of BC. The downside is that they set the target date as 2021 for it to happen.

So in the meantime keep recycling your tin cans and string to the folks who live up Christian Valley and along Hwy 33.

The BC Liberals have finally ended the claw-back on child support payments for single parents on welfare. It is estimated this change will to put some $13 million in the hands of some of the poorest British Columbians.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calls it a good step forward, “but it is very, very small.” The CCPA points out that $13 million is three hundredths of one percent of the provincial budget.

In contrast, the richest 2 per cent of British Columbians are getting 17 times more (or $227 million) with the phase out of the tax bracket at $150,000.

Another criticism of the budget from the CCPA is that BC remains the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan.

“There is also no money in the budget to increase income assistance rates, which have been frozen since 2007,” says the CCPA. This is despite the fact that the bi-partisan committee of MLAs who conduced this year’s pre-budget consultations unanimously recommended these in the pre-Budget consultation report that the government introduce a comprehensive poverty reduction plan, and review income assistance rates, the minimum wage, and clawback of child support payments.

“The government deserves credit for ending the clawback of child support payments from income assistance,” remarks the CCPA report, “but that is one of the cheapest items on the list that affects the fewest people. What about all the others?”