“Deep disappointment” as youth work and many young people overlooked in Budget 2023
Limited funding increase effectively a cut with core inflation set to be 5.25% for 2023
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents youth work organisations supporting young people nationwide – has said that organisations are “running to stand still” and the 1.6% increase in current funding is deeply disappointing for a sector that works with an estimated 380,000 young people.
Youth services funding “insufficient”
Reacting to the budget, Paul Gordon, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the NYCI, said: “Unfortunately, the provision for youth work in Budget 2023 is simply not sufficient for a sector that is hard hit by the cost-of-living crisis. We are already seeing organisations reporting increases in deprivation among young people, increased demand for services and diminished ability to deliver services. A 1.6% increase in current funding won’t help them manage that.”
“Youth work organisations are already running to stand still, and this increase will not allow them to meet inflationary pressures. We have warned against young people being ignored in this Budget. Such a limited increase when core inflation will be 5.25% for 2023, shows youth work has been overlooked and is facing an effective cut.”
“At the very least, Government must now put in place additional help for youth work organisations, to deal with increased overheads on heating, electricity, insurance and food. We are calling on behalf of our members for community and voluntary sector energy supports to be extended to them as soon as possible, and will work officials in the coming weeks to press this”.
Many young people left out in Budget 2023
NYCI’s recently published survey with RED C, demonstrated the very specific pressures young people are facing as a result of the cost-of-living, with over 7 in 10 considering leaving Ireland for a better quality of life. NYCI have said that:
A lack of progress both on raising Jobseekers’ Allowance for under-25s in line with those over-25 and no movement on removing sub-minimal rates of minimum wage for under-20s mean there is little change for many young people;
Minister Simon Harris’ measures to reduce third-level contribution charges by €1,000 and a double SUSI grant payment are a welcome relief for students, but they await further clarity on whether contribution fees will be reduced for apprenticeships as well;
An extension of the Young Adult Travel Card to the end of 2023 is positive, but the NYCI believes this should have been extended to a broader age group, as NYCI research shows that young people spend a significant proportion of their income on public transport;
Tax relief for renters will hopefully provide some additional support to those living in private rented accommodation.
“While measures in higher education will provide welcome relief to many young people, it is disappointing that a number of NYCI’s proposals to help young people in Budget 2023 have been overlooked. All young people must be supported through this cost-of-living crisis. Unfortunately, some of those most in need have been left out in this Budget”.
“The frustration some young people may be feeling, will be compounded by the very limited investment in youth work. Youth work changes young lives by building resilience, confidence, and new skills to navigate life’s challenges. At a challenging time for youth work, we fear young people’s ability to access services, and organisations’ ability to provide them, will be damaged by underinvestment.”
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.