Kendall on social inclusion, not just during the holidays, but all the time. “Income Assistance recipients see people moving on in life, being financially better off, driving vehicles, being in relationships and living healthy lives. Income Assistance recipients ask, Why can’t it be us?”

Kendall with some thoughts on Christmas, including a handy list of all the soup kitchens serving Christmas dinners. Also some thoughts on a social inclusion tax credit for people on income assistance, much needed help for things like passes for fitness centres.

Yesterday Community Services announced its full package of changes to income assistance to be implemented on December 27. Unfortunately, inflation ensures that most people will be poorer than they were a year before even after the raise kicks in. It’s a horrible thing.

I end my presentation with one request, Ms Knight; Hear what I am saying, look at these examples, and tell me that I am better off.”

Last Friday several members of the Benefit Reform Action Group (BRAG) met with managers at Community Services, at the department’s invitation. Tim Blades was sick and couldn’t make it, but fellow BRAG member Jodi Brown read his letter on his behalf. The letter is addressed to Joy Knight, who is the department’s director of Employment Support Services. Tim tells it as it is.

Community Services giveth and Community Services taketh away. The tiny increases people on income assistance will get next year may push them over the Poverty Reduction Credit threshold. The department says it doesn’t yet know what to do about it, or how many people will be affected.

At last night’s screening of My Week on Welfare in Dartmouth, g=human rights lawyer Vince Calderhead talked about how the much-hyped transformation did not at all make things better for people on income assistance and his fear that special needs allowances will be next.

He also tackles the subject of tactics, don’t waste your time trying to convince bureaucrats, he says.