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The Salvation Army,
Children and young New Zealanders are bearing the brunt of the recession, according to The Salvation Army’s 2010 State of The Nation report, A Road to Recovery.
There are close to 30,000 more children living in workless households compared to two years ago, and 45,000 fewer people aged 15 to 19 with a job than in late 2007, Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit Director Major Campbell Roberts says.
The report estimates 21 per cent of children – more than 231,000 – were living in benefit-dependant households at the end of 2009, a 12 per cent increase during the year.
“It’s becoming apparent that with the downturn of employment there is a real danger of a growing underclass of children living in material hardship,” Major Roberts says.
“There is now an urgent need to consider some form of universal income entitlement for children.”
A Road to Recovery is The Salvation Army’s third State of The Nation report. It tracks social progress across five critical areas: New Zealand’s children, work and incomes, crime and punishment, social hazards, and housing.
Another major concern is that the employment gains for solo parent households over the past ten years have been wiped out in little over 12 months. In December 1999 there were 110,300 households receiving the DPB. This figure fell to just over 96,000 by mid 2007, but by December 2009 had risen to 109,300.
The record shows that young workers have been severely hit by the recession with unemployment among 15-19 years old hitting 26% in the December quarter.
Major Roberts says a failure to address youth unemployment will mean facing the potential "time bomb of resentment and disaffection which will show up in rising youth crime, youth suicides and anti-social behaviour."
While A Road to Recovery acknowledges that the worst of the recession may be over in financial terms, some of the social benefits of a decade of economic growth have been erased in less than two years, Major Roberts says.
“It is important that we see any economic recovery in people terms rather than just as business confidence indicators and GDP figures.”
To download a copy of A Road to Recovery visit: http://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/research-media/social-research/
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