The annual round of speculation concerning the budget seems to start earlier each year.
Previously the fate of budget lines was bound up in the mysterious estimates process which appeared from the outside to depend on how good Ministers were at defending their patch. Therefore the news that budgetary decisions for 2012 and beyond were to be made on the basis of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) process is welcome.
The election and the formation of a new Government presents opportunities and challenges for the youth sector. We warmly welcomed the establishment of a new Department of Children with a Minister at full cabinet rank.
The upcoming election is one of those pivotal elections that will shape the country for the next decade or so. For young people it is a crucial moment. With record levels of youth unemployment, emigration along with increasing demand and reduced resources for youthwork, education and health services it is vital that young people and those working with young people engage in the democratic process and cast their vote.
The build up to the Budget was full of dire warnings and doom and gloom, and certainly it delivered on that. The cuts in social welfare, hikes in fees and charges along with the lack of significant investment in job training and creation as outlined in our 2011 analysis don’t bode well for young people. In that environment, it’s not surprising that 70% of young jobseekers indicated they are likely to emigrate in the next 12 months according to an NYCI study due to be launched in January 2011.
Two years on from the dramatic decisions of September 2008, the recession and high levels of unemployment show no signs of abating. What is clear is that there will be no easy or quick resolution to the mess we find ourselves in.