12000–12050 votes
Is a benefit of $194 a week enough for a single adult to live on?
  1. Yes (34%)
  2. No (66%)

An alternative welfare review group will call today for raising welfare benefits by as much as 50 per cent to meet the basic needs of jobless families.

The alternative group, chaired by Massey University social policy expert Mike O'Brien and including former Green MP Sue Bradford, says current benefits of $194 a week for a single adult or $366 for a sole parent with one child are "simply too low to live on".

It calls for restoring benefits "as a first step" to the proportion of the average wage that applied before they were cut by up to $27 a week in 1991. That would mean raising the single dole by 53 per cent to about $296 a week and lifting the benefit for a sole parent with one child to about $536 a week.

Its proposals challenge a Government-appointed welfare working group chaired by economist Paula Rebstock, which has proposed options of cutting benefit rates after one year or five years as a signal that benefits should only be temporary.

Ms Rebstock said yesterday that the alternative group's 163-page report would be considered with other submissions on her report. Submissions close on Christmas Eve.