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Youth Council opposed to youth unemployment payment cuts

November 30th 2009

The National Youth Council of Ireland is opposed to proposals to cut jobseekers allowance for young people under 25 because it is a misguided and short-sighted policy that will do nothing for young people and the economy. Ireland has the 2nd highest youth unemployment in Western Europe, with 1 in 4 young men between 18 and 24 out of work. NYCI is calling for a plan of investment and stimulus to get young people back into education, training and work, not a programme of cuts and austerity.

“The proposed cuts could impact up to 42,000 young people between 20-24 on jobseekers allowance, all of whom have already undergone a means test which demonstrates that they have no or limited alternative income. To slash that by 20% will drive many who are already struggling further into debt and poverty. To cut supports by such a large amount for those young people with limited income makes a mockery of Government promises that the Budget will be fair and will protect the vulnerable,” stated James Doorley, Assistant Director at NYCI.

This proposal is being presented as if young people are unwilling to take up education, training or workplace programmes. This is untrue. The vast majority of young people who are unemployed are looking for meaningful education and training opportunities and workplace experience. The initiative by Government to start a workplace programme was welcomed. However, only 500 places have been provided for young people under 25, which is woefully inadequate when 75,000 young people are out of work. The reality is that the training courses and educational opportunities are not there to meet the demand.

NYCI wants to get young people off benefits and back to work. Therefore as part of a stimulus plan to get the country going again we believe that Government must guarantee every young person out of work a meaningful and appropriate training, education or workplace opportunity within 3 months of becoming unemployed.

We are concerned that the real motive here is just to cut benefits and not anything to do with the needs of young people. We believe that because there is a lack of places and job opportunities that benefits for young people will be cut even when have not been offered a viable alternative. We know from the measures announced in the April budget which reduced the job seekers allowance for young people aged 18-19 years that up to two thirds of them are on the lower payment €100 which indicates that the majority have not been offered alternatives.

“The Government response to the crisis of unemployment has been totally inadequate. What is being proposed is a plan to drive 40,000 young people into debt and impoverishment and push them further away from the labour market. Young people have the skills, commitment and initiative, but many cannot do it alone; they need a Government that cares and shows it cares about their future. Young people can be the drivers of social and economic renewal and recovery, but not with short term and knee-jerk policies like these,” Mr. Doorley concluded.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Clodagh O’Brien, Communications Officer at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or email communications@nyci.ie

Notes to Editors:

National Youth Council of Ireland

The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of 55 voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Clodagh O’Brien, Communications Officer at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or email communications@nyci.ie

Notes to Editors:

National Youth Council of Ireland

The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of 55 voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.