National Youth Council of Ireland – Comhairle Náisiúnta na nÓg
Budget 2020: increase in youth services funding small step in right direction
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents groups working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has welcomed the additional €2 million in funding provided for youth services nationwide in Budget 2020 announced by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, today. The organisation also highlighted other measures to support young people including jobseekers allowance increases and a special fund for climate action.
Youth services funding
“Given the scale of the youth work sector, where 1,400 staff work with over 40,000 volunteers to support 380,000 young people, this €2m in additional investment announced in Budget 2020 is a small – but welcome – step to support the huge volume of youth work programmes and services delivered up and down the country,” said Mary Cunningham, NYCI Director.
“The increase must be taken in context and, although we appreciate this budget has been prepared with the shadow of Brexit looming, it must be noted that funding for youth services is still over 15% below 2008 levels despite our growing youth population.
“The detailed budget breakdown will give a better indication of where these funds will be directed, but much more will be needed in coming years to meet the growing demand for services, given that Ireland’s youth population is set to increase to over one million young people by 2025,”[i] added Ms Cunningham.
Youth Action on Climate Justice
“We welcome the creation of a special fund for Youth Action on Climate Justice – an area in which NYCI has been to the fore for a number of years, through our national and international programmes – and we look forward to seeing how we can link in with this fund to continue to support young people to take climate action.
“We remain committed to working with Minister Zappone and her Department on ensuring the increased allocation delivers for young people, while continuing to advocate that the sector does require more investment if it is do more for more young people.
“We will seek a meeting with Minister Zappone and her Department in the aftermath of the Budget, to restate the need for increased investment in youth work over the next number of years to ensure we can deliver more and enhanced youth work services for young people,” said Ms Cunningham.
Ms Cunningham also highlighted other measures affecting young people in budget 2020 which the organisation has been campaigning on:
Young jobseekers – full rate of €203 restored
“We welcome the move to reverse unjust cuts imposed during austerity on young jobseekers under 26, by restoring the full rate of €203 to those aged 25. Based on data from April 2019 this will benefit about 1,800 young people.[ii] This is a measure we have been calling for in successive budgets over the last 8 years.
“The restoration of full jobseekers’ allowance to young people aged 18 to 24 living independently on housing supports, is a small move in the right direction and will help address youth homelessness. But only €1m in funding has been allocated to this, so the Government’s expectation is that it will assist around 200 young people,” continued Doorley.
‘Access to Apprenticeship’ scheme
The increase of €27m for apprenticeships from €142m to €169m is welcome. We hope it will assist in supporting under-represented cohorts in apprenticeship programmes. Though we are disappointed that there is no announcement regarding a national ‘Access to Apprenticeship’ scheme.
Concern over cuts in employment support programmes and delay in minimum wage
“With 14.8% youth unemployment and the spectre of Brexit, we are concerned about the cuts in employment support programmes in Budget 2020. Funding for Jobsplus has been reduced from €20m to €10m, the Youth Employment Support Scheme has been cut from €5m to €3.35m and the Back to Education Allowance has been cut by €5m. We are also disappointed with the delay in the introduction of the 30c an hour increase in the minimum wage due to concerns about Brexit, with almost 4 in 10[iii] of those on the minimum wage under 30 years, this delay will particularly hurt lower paid young workers,” concluded Ms Cunningham.
CONTACT: Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI email@example.com 087 781 4903
NYCI Pre-Budget 2020 Submission ‘A Fair Share for Young People and Youth Work’ can be found here: https://www.youth.ie/documents/nyci-pre-budget-submission-budget-2020/
[ii] NYCI Pre-Budget 2020 Submission ‘A Fair Share for Young People and Youth Work’ can be found here: https://www.youth.ie/documents/nyci-pre-budget-submission-budget-2020/