Budget is time to invest in youth work services and measures to provide jobs, better social protection and mental health services
With our growing youth population set to surpass one million by 2025, investment in youth services and measures to provide jobs and better social protection and mental health services is more important now than ever, that was the message from the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director, James Doorley on the eve of Budget 2018. In its Pre Budget 2018 submission ‘A Million Good Reasons’ the NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide has put forward recommendations in eight policy areas for consideration by Government to meet the needs of young people.
“As we emerge from the economic and social crisis, one positive is our growing youth population. Census 2016 shows that the number of young people aged 10-24 will grow by 11.6% between 2015 and 2025, meaning Ireland will be home to just over one million young people.* This will also create challenges, however, with adequate resources and the right supports this growing cohort of young people can achieve their potential and fully contribute to their communities and our society as a whole” said Mr Doorley
Investment in young people and youth work services
The NYCI is calling on Government to invest a further €7.5 million in youth work in Budget 2018 to provide more supports and services for young people and to meet the needs of a growing youth population.
“As our youth population continues to grow over the coming years, so too will the numbers of young people that need access to and the support of their local youth service,” explained Mr Doorley
“We will need real and meaningful investment in this vital sector to be able to respond to this increase in demand for our services. But so long as the NYCI are here we will keep making the case, again and again that investment in young people isn’t just a good idea but an essential core value for any society that wants to guarantee opportunity, equality and a tomorrow that’s better than today,” continued Mr Doorley.
NYCI is also calling for action on long term youth unemployment. While youth joblessness has declined, the latest figures available indicate that 11,257 young people under 26 years are still long term unemployed (12 months or more). We are calling on Government to halve the number of young people long term unemployed by the end of 2018. This can be achieved by investing in the provision of quality education and training places as set out in the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan. We propose funding in Budget 2018 for an additional 6,250 places at a gross cost of €47.4m, the net cost of such a measure will be just €14m due to reduced welfare payments.
NYCI is further calling for the gradual restoration of the full adult rate for young people on jobseekers allowance. As set out in our pre-budget submission, 7 out of 10 young people on Jobseekers Allowance are on €102.70 per week, which leaves many people struggling to make ends meet and living in poverty. This is backed up by the official statistics from the DSP’s social inclusion monitor which found that 15.6% of young people aged 15-24 years were living in consistent poverty: this is double the overall rate. In Budget 2018 we are calling for the cuts to be reversed in a graduated manner over the next 3 years, with a €30 increase for both young people on the €102.70 and €147.80 rates to €132.70 and €177.80 respectively.
NYCI is also advocating for greater investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and guidance counselling as a concrete step towards promoting positive mental health and supporting young people with mental health difficulties. The evidence suggests that in many schools, guidance counselling services are a vital first ‘port of call’ for some young people with concerns and problems which may impact on their mental health. To date two thirds (400 of the 600 posts) of the guidance allocation lost in 2012 will be restored by September 2017. That is why NYCI is recommending that the balance of 200 posts should be restored in Budget 2018, this increased investment will cost €12.6m,” stated Mr Doorley.
“Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are another vital part of the state’s efforts to support young people with mental health issues. “NYCI recommends that an additional investment of €20m is allocated in Budget 2018 to complete the process of bringing the staff complement in CAMHS up to that proposed in the government policy document on the issue: ‘A Vision for Change’.”
Mr Doorley said: “Census 2016 indicates that our population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025. With this in mind, our Pre Budget 2018 submission recommends costed measures that will help Government to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years.”
“Budget 2018 presents an opportunity for Government to invest in our growing youth population. The investment in these proposals, will not just make a difference now but will generate a social and economic dividend over the coming decades. There are many good reasons to support young people to prosper and achieve their full potential; indeed there are a million good reasons to do so. We call on Government to seize that opportunity in Budget 2018,” concluded Mr Doorley.
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
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.
*Population Estimates, CSO: