Around 12,000 Islanders are being supported by a weekly benefits system that costs around £73 million per year, or £200,000 per day, according to Social Security Minister Francis Le Gresley.
Speaking after Christian charities revealed that demand for help from food banks has doubled in the last six years, Senator Le Gresley said that his department had also seen a major surge in demand for help over the last few years and that they were working hard to support families.
The head of the Grace Trust says that around 26 people come to their base in Minden Place every week because they are struggling to put food on the table, and while Senator Le Gresley says that he doesn’t doubt the good charitable work being done, he wanted to make it clear that the Social Security department was doing all it could to help.
The Senator said: “We would say similarly that Income Support costs have doubled in the last six years and we are now assisting something in the region of 6,700 households, which is about 12,000 people.
“Some of these people are in work but their income is either not sufficient to look after their family and so we are assisting with small amounts of benefit, or some are currently unemployed. Of the people who are registered as unemployed, 70% are living in households supported by Income Support.
“Last year we spent £73 million on weekly benefits. It would be a lot higher if we had not had all of the Back to Work programmes that we have been promoting.”
Senator Le Gresley added that he was considering changes to the way that homeowners were supported under the system, and also that he had tabled changes to the amount of work income that benefit recipients could keep, in order to make work more attractive to claimants.
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