British Columbia

NDP says 'average family' would save $3,400 a year — but is it true?

The NDP has said John Horgan's plan to move B.C. forward will save an average family of four an additional $3,400 a year — but when pressed, Horgan was unable to say how many families would actually benefit. 

Assumptions in its news release mean less than 2% of households would get anywhere near that amount

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan announces his party’s election platform in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday Oct. 6, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The NDP has said John Horgan's plan to move B.C. forward will save an average family of four an additional $3,400 a year — but when pressed, Horgan was unable to say how many families would actually benefit.

"We're confident that on average, there's going to be significant savings for families, not just this year, but in the years going forward," said Horgan Friday morning at yet another campaign stop n Pitt Meadows, the swing riding the party is hoping to hold. 

"Government should be focusing every day on bringing costs down for people. I think we've done that over the past three and a half years, and we want to do more going forward."

The NDP trumpeted the $3,400 figure in a news release, adding up the following election commitments:

However, those benefits assume a family of four with two kids, renting a place and earning $60,000 to $80,000 a year (since the renter's rebate and COVID-19 recovery rebate are capped by income) and owning a car while also using public transit. 

According to the Canadian Rental Housing, around four per cent of households in B.C. are couples who rent with children — and according to 2016 census figures, slightly more than half of those couples would meet the income level required to benefit from the NDP's promised rebates.

The per cent of those households who would see a rent increase in 2021 without a government-imposed freeze — with children between five and 12 who currently pay for transit — is unknown.  

What are the other parties promising?

The B.C. Liberals have promised to eliminate the PST for a year, afterwards cutting it in half — but have not made broad promises on how much "average" families would save under their election promises.

On Friday, the party unveiled its housing affordability plan, promising $1.75 billion in spending over three years to increase supply, creating an incentive fund for cities that see increased construction and ensuring no net loss of rental units in redevelopment projects. 

At the same time, the party said it would eliminate the speculation tax on vacant homes, replacing it with a capital gains tax on "condo-flipping."

The party promised to speak with CBC News about its housing affordability plan but did not return calls by deadline. 

The B.C. Green Party has also not created projected savings for the "average family" under its platform, but says it will introduce a rental supplement that will apply to people with low and middle income earners paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent.

In addition, the Greens are promising to make the $300/month increase to disability and welfare rates prompted by COVID-19 permanent, indexing them to inflation in the future, and creating a free child-care plan for all working parents with children under three. 

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