We acknowledge the importance of an increase in funding for youth work services in Budget 2016, which will provide additional support to youth organizations working with young people throughout the country. Given the savage cuts in previous Budgets, the needs of the growing youth population, and the commitments in the National Youth Strategy, however, we need to see greater progress in funding in the coming years.
The Budget provided an increase in the minimum wage of 50c which brings it up to €9.15 per hour. Whilst modest, this increase in the minimum wage is welcome, and could benefit up to 47,000 young workers under the age of 30 years. The reduction in the USC for those on low incomes is also welcome.
Whilst these supports are welcome, NYCI believes that more could have been done to support young people to access education, training and employment, and to address the serious deprivation so many young people continue to experience in Irish society.
Budget 2016 did nothing to address the housing crisis, nor did it respond to other important issues affecting young people, such as measures to reduce alcohol-related harm, or to promote youth participation in the democratic process.
Overall, the Budget neglected to support and respond in an adequate manner to the needs of young people. We are extremely disappointed by the grossly inadequate budgetary provisions contained in Budget 2016, which do little to support young people.