Surrey Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt says the NDP’s poverty reduction plan is “underwhelming.”
The provincial NDP government aims to reduce poverty by 25 per cent overall, and child poverty by 50 per cent, over the next five years in B.C. after unveiling this province’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy in Surrey on Monday.
Shane Simpson, provincial minister of social development and poverty reduction, revealed the much-anticipated strategy at Options Early Years Centre, at 6846 King George Blvd. in Newton. Dubbed TogetherBC, the plan is designed to lift 140,000 people – 50,000 children among them – out of poverty.
“After nearly two years in office, the NDP has released its long-awaited poverty reduction plan — except there’s nothing new in this plan to actually help people out of poverty,” said Hunt, Surrey-Cloverdale MLA and social development and poverty critic for the opposition. “This reads more like another NDP re-announcement than a substantive government strategy.”
B.C.’s Bill 39 – Poverty Reduction Strategy Act – was passed last fall, unanimously, with legislated targets and timelines. It’s based on affordability, opportunity, social inclusion and reconciliation. The plan took 15 months and $1.2 million to develop, Hunt noted.
Hunt said the NDP’s plan contains “significant gaps” in that it offers no plan for economic growth and ignores “the importance of well-paying jobs for British Columbians’ financial security,” nor does it mention 19 new or increased taxes the NDP has introduced, “which raise the cost of living in British Columbia.
“The premier himself admits British Columbians are working two or three jobs just to get by,” Hunt said, “but instead of tackling this unacceptable situation, Premier Horgan and his government seem to be using this strategy as an opportunity to pat themselves on the back. British Columbians need more than a redistribution of money. They need access to opportunities, and the NDP is failing to deliver.”