The National Youth Council of Ireland is disappointed with the announcements in relation to education, training and support for young people. Young people in particular have been hit hard by the recession, with 27% unemployed and continuing high levels of emigration now being compounded by cuts to vital supports. “Supporting children and young people to remain in education and training and supporting them into work should have been a priority in the budget, instead, many of the changes are regressive and will damage the education, training and job prospects of the most disadvantaged young people,” stated James Doorley, Assistant Director at the National Youth Council of Ireland.
“We need to keep children and young people in education. Research shows that it costs €400 to send a child back to school, so the cut in Back to School Allowance from €305 to €250 for secondary students and from €200 to €150 for primary students will create hardship for many families,” continued Mr Doorley.
“Likewise, we need to be encouraging young people not currently in education or training to take up opportunities. Instead, Government is slashing support to those most at risk of falling through the cracks with massive cuts meaning a reduction in allowances to 16 and 17 year olds in Youthreach and FAS schemes to just €40 per week from €76 and €95 respectively.”
We are also deeply concerned at the up to a further 5% cut in funding to youth work, as youth services have been hit with cuts of up to 20% in the last 3 years and more cuts will further damage the services provided by voluntary youth organisations around the country.
“Young people aged 18-24 with disabilities will also be hit hard as the disability allowance has been targeted: the €88 cut for young people with disabilities aged 18-21 and €44 cut for those aged 22-24 will further burden those in need of support.”
“A staggering 40% cut in back to education allowance from €500 to €300, as well as the cuts to guidance services are further examples of a ‘penny-wise pound-foolish’ approach at a time when we need to be investing more to help young people make the right decisions about their future career and education.”
“The only positive news for young jobseekers is the €20 million pledged for a new Labour Market Activation Fund, which it is hoped will deliver up to 6,500 places next year, but this is but a drop in the ocean when compared to the numbers unemployed and it clear that much more is needed to create opportunities for young people in Ireland and stem the tide of young emigrants leaving our shores,” concluded Mr Doorley.
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Officer at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 478 4122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.