Article 40.1 of the Irish Constitution states that “All citizens shall, as human persons, be equal before the law” and yet successive Government decisions have resulted in young people under 26 years on Jobseekers Allowance being entitled to lower social welfare rates than those over 26 years. The most recent data indicates that 66% of the almost 40,000 young people in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance in February 2015 were on €100 a week, 15% were on €144 with just 19% on the full rate of €188 per week https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2015-03-24a.155&s=%22under+25+%22+section%3Awrans#g156.q
In 2014, NYCI published the results of a poll which found that 4 out of 10 young people on Jobseekers’ Allowance were struggling to make ends meet. This is not surprising as the Vincentian Partnership found that the cost of a single adult living as part of a household was €184 in 2014 and this does not take into account the financial burden on young people who are not living with parents or family. There is also increasing anecdotal evidence that the cuts are leading to homelessness among young people.
The cuts in welfare were partly justified on the basis that they would incentivise young people to take up education, training and work experience opportunities rather than remain unemployed for many years. NYCI is also concerned about young people becoming long term unemployed, but the only way to address this issue is to provide sufficient quality education and training places rather than cutting social protection. The best way to prevent young people drifting into long term unemployment is to implement the Youth Guarantee where all young people on the live register for 4 months or more are guaranteed an education, training and/or work experience opportunity.
NYCI Response to Budget 2016-Disappointment cuts not reversed
NYCI Pre-Budget 2016
NYCI Briefing Paper on Jobseekers’ Allowance
Vincentian Partnership “Minimum Essential Standard of Living” Projections, October 2013
Budget 2014 Factsheet on Cuts to Jobseekers Allowance