Unemployment payments too low: MPs

JULIA Gillard faces mounting pressure from her backbench to increase the unemployment benefit as MPs argue it is so low people have been forced into poverty or have turned to crime.

A quarter of Labor MPs contacted by The Sun-Herald say $245 a week is too little to live on, a position backed by a growing number of conservative economic commentators and business groups.

''Anyone can end up on welfare given changed circumstances and bad luck, and the Labor Party should always have in its eye that people who fall on hard times can live with some dignity and respect,'' the NSW senator Doug Cameron said.

The Northern Territory senator Trish Crossin has called for a welfare summit, so the system of payments and allowances can be examined.

Melissa Parke, who represents Fremantle in Western Australia, said the unemployment payment did not recognise that people faced different costs depending on where they lived.

Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au


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