May 11, 2022

Budgeting departments fear losing funding despite spike in usage

Budgeting services are increasingly in demand with a new wave of families needing advice to get by.

But the growing need comes as budgeting departments face the risk of losing the extra funding that got them through Covid.

Budget First Hastings director Kristal Leach said there has been an increase in the number of clients earning between $50,000 and $70,000 a year.

“We will have 10 or 20 percent more customers over the next year and we won’t be able to maintain the number of employees we have now,” she said.

“We didn’t see the peak in 2020, we started to see the peak in 2021 and expect it to continue to grow.”

She said the budget department could lose around 40% of its funding.

READ MORE: Budgeting service sees record number of struggling Kiwis

Many budgeting departments wrote letters to the government asking to keep their funding and called the situation a cost of living crisis.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the sector had already received significant funding.

“I have been made aware of some of the pressures on some budgeting departments and recognize the important role they play. I’m certainly aware of some of the funding requests there.”

Josian Morrell is a single mother caring for her children, grandchildren and mother. She works full time and takes extra shifts when she can.

Morrell said she started using budgeting services five years ago.

“I had huge debts and they helped me sort them out, we are now comfortable,” she said.

“I need to work full time, being on allowance won’t reduce it for most families when you have rent, electricity, gas and food, the cost of living has skyrockets.”

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