Anti-poverty groups say B.C.’s budget has left them hanging

VICTORIA – Anti-poverty groups say British Columbia’s budget has left them hanging in anticipation for details outlining the minority New Democrat government’s promised poverty reduction strategy.

Finance Minister Carole James says her budget includes poverty-fighting measures, but the government’s full strategy will be announced later this spring.

BC Poverty Reduction Coalition spokeswoman Trish Garner says she’s waiting for more dollars after the small steps James took towards fighting poverty in the budget.

Garner says raising welfare and disability rates by $50 per month and adding only 200 new modular homes are not enough to help people struggling with poverty.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives senior economist Iglika Ivanova says the government’s BC Child Opportunity Benefit does not come into effect until 2020 and does not go deep enough to help lift families out of extreme poverty.

Garner and Ivanova say the government’s current budget surplus situation leaves James much more room to implement poverty-reduction measures.

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