Social assistance rates will be going up in New Brunswick for the first time in six years, thanks to a $5.4 million boost in the 2020-21 budget presented Tuesday, but will it be enough to close a growing poverty gap in the province?

The current rates — which saw a slight increase of three per cent in April 2014 — sit at $537 a month for a single, employable person, $887 for single parents and $995 for a family of four…

Randy Hatfield of the Human Development Council in Saint John said the five per cent increase was needed, but over the past six years social assistance incomes have been eroded by inflation of 11.1 per cent, leaving people on low incomes with less and less money in their pockets.