Budget sets sights on reducing poverty

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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The province continues trying to kick poverty in the behind - it slotted $134 million for poverty reduction in Monday's provincial budget.

That figure brings the total the province has spent on addressing poverty to $482.7 million since 2006.

Left to right, Lorraine Michael and Linda Ross

The province continues trying to kick poverty in the behind - it slotted $134 million for poverty reduction in Monday's provincial budget.

That figure brings the total the province has spent on addressing poverty to $482.7 million since 2006.

The money for 2010 will endeavour to do a lot of things.

Among the initiatives is modernizing housing units, continuing family violence intervention court and helping people qualify for a prescription drug program.

Susan Sullivan, minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, expressed confidence the measures would break the cycle of poverty facing many, plus bring the province closer to its goal of having the country's lowest poverty rates by 2014.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael didn't share her enthusiasm.

"A lot of the things they have listed under poverty reduction isn't poverty reduction. It's ordinary social programming," she said.

Whatever category they might fall in, some of the measures were met favourably, especially increasing the income threshold for the provincial prescription drug program access plan.

Linda Ross, president and CEO of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, described that measure as significant.

"Because what you are seeing is that there are more people off income support going on low-wage jobs, but now that the minimum wage has increased, they weren't really accessing the program," she said.

Deirdre Greene of Easter Seals would have like to have seen more done to help the disabled.

She told The Telegram poverty is not always about low income.

For people with disabilities and chronic conditions, she explained, the burden of spending can be so great that poverty becomes a reality at a much higher income threshold, particularly when a parent has a growing child.

"A child with a disability grows out of his wheelchair as fast as a child grows out of a pair of speakers," Greene said. "The constant high level of spending that is required is a challenge that can create poverty for people and families that aren't in low-income brackets."

sbartlett@thetelegram.com




REDUCING POVERTY

The investments in poverty reduction include:
$2.5 million to increase income thresholds under the prescription drug program access plan;
$519,000 for the continuation of family violence intervention court;
$310,000 to enhance the family justice services division;
$2.4 million for supportive living community partnership initiative;
$6.8 million federal/provincial funding for 230 rental units for seniors, persons with disabilities and people requiring supportive services;
$17.6 million, including federal monies, to modernize 2,300 housing units;
$1.4 million extra for Housing Corp's maintenance budget;
$1.2 million to raise heating allowance for Housing Corp's low income tenants;
$200,000 for continued home heating oil tank storage replacement assistance program;
$70,000 for transitional employment support services for victims of violence;
$44,000 more for women's centres.
Source: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Organizations: Human Resources, Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Housing

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    In this province a person earning less than $8000 has to pay provincial income tax. In the NB the new example by which we are to be compared, it is $8600. If they want to help poverty then at least match NB.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    In this province a person earning less than $8000 has to pay provincial income tax. In the NB the new example by which we are to be compared, it is $8600. If they want to help poverty then at least match NB.