Core’ income support slashed as activation measures fail
Fianna Fáil Senator for Kerry Mark Daly, says yesterday’s calculated slashing of jobseeker’s benefit for under 25s is an invitation for our young people to emigrate.
Jobseeker’s Allowance for new applicants under the age of 25 and current recipients under 22 has been cut by €44 per week to €100.
Ireland has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the EU, with 30% of 15 to 24 year olds out of work compared to an average of 22.9% across the EU.
Senator Daly expressed his disbelief at the Government’s policy, which cuts a core social welfare rate, encourages emigration by slashing income support and refuses to implement proper labour activation measures.
Senator Daly stated: “The Government yesterday insulted young people by slashing their jobseeker’s benefit but at the same time saying that core social welfare rates have remained the same. Are young people not entitled to consider jobseeker’s benefit as a core social welfare payment? This was a mean spirited and calculated cut for our young people, many who would love to have a job.
“Slashing young people’s income support makes it extremely difficult for them to live in this country. The Government has also failed miserably to implement labour activation measures that work. The obvious discrimination is galling and shows how little faith Fine Gael and Labour have in the next generation.
“At present, there is only one social welfare case officer for every 800 people on the dole. The OECD, the European Commission and the IMF have all criticised the utter failure of this Government to address the huge problem we have with youth unemployment. The Government’s answer is to punish young people and invite them to emigrate.
“This Government is using emigration as a policy tool to reduce unemployment numbers. This budget measure may well reduce unemployment numbers further but it will also reduce the number of young people who plan their future in Ireland.
“Half of all young people in active employment are also underemployed, meaning they are in jobs they are overqualified for.
“In September, over 13,000 people alone were on the live register in Kerry. This is despite the Taoiseach’s assertion that 92% of the Government’s much vaulted goals in the Action Plan for Jobs were completed last year. No new jobs have yet been created through the NewEra project; the project which Fine Gael promised would create over 105,000 jobs.”