Reaction to the Latest Provincial Budget Update

New Democrat North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice believes the budget update shows the New Democrats are keeping election promises.

Rice says a major piece is adding $100 to monthly social assistance cheques, starting this month.

She believes it's important as it allows people to have more money to spend instead of just paying bills.

"The biggest challenge for most British Columbians, for average British Columbian is the lack of the affordability. Under the previous government, you saw MSPs go up, you saw ICBC rates go up, hydro rates go up. We saw people making the choice of paying rent or paying their hydro bill. These are the kind of decisions we think people shouldn't have to face."

Rice doesn't agree with the Liberals when they say the N-D-P is just overspending for no reason.

"The spending that we have put forward does not exceed the total revenues. We put forward $51.9-billion in spending. The total revenues are $52.4-billion. We're looking at a forecast of $300-million and a budget surplus of $46-million."

Prince Rupert mayor Lee Brain is still exploring the latest budget update from the province.

Brain says one thing he's always looking to bring to the province's attention is the need for affordable housing.

"Affordable housing is going to be one of them. We need to make sure we get those investments that we need for affordable housing. We need the province to invest in that because it's their responsibility. The city can only do so much .That's what I'm going to be looking for. Where are those investments going?"

Rice says the province will be reaching out to local governments soon, to see how it wants to spend funding for affordable housing.

"We need to have a comprehensive plan that makes sense for each community. Mayor Brain knows best what the needs are for Prince Rupert. Vancouver and Prince Rupert have different needs. Our housing minister is committed to developing a comprehensive plan that deals with this issue in a broad sense."

Rice says more details will be announced in the coming months.