NDP MHA questions financial mismanagement of income assistance
NDP Advanced Education and Skills critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) says the findings of the Auditor General’s report released last week reflect his own concerns about government’s continuing fiscal irresponsibility.
“The Auditor General clearly points out some of the gaping holes in how this money – intended to provide assistance to some of our more vulnerable citizens – is being managed,” Kirby said today.
Because of government’s poor public administrative practices, for example “inefficiencies caused by the incompatibility of systems used” by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, to quote the AG, tens of millions of dollars intended for Income Support have been paid out to individuals who are ineligible. Collecting such overpayments is rife with problems, and government’s record in this has steadily continued to worsen.
“The Conservatives have a consistent record of mismanaging tens of millions of dollars that are intended to help individuals who are in need of and deserving of income support,” Kirby said. “Advanced Education and Skills is a large department – some would say too large for one minister – and people are falling through the cracks.”
The AG also found that clients are sometimes not being paid all of their allowable benefits, and that AES is not thoroughly investigating direct deposit rejections. “In short,” Kirby says, “people in desperate need are not getting the support they should be getting, while monies are haphazardly paid out to ineligible recipients.
“This is pathetic management of public money. The Dunderdale government is, on the one hand, borrowing from our children and grandchildren to pay for the deficit they have created, and on the other ignoring the fact that public funds are being consistently mismanaged.”