Helping you get through tough times

How last week’s budget affects you

We take a look at how budget 2011 will affect young people.

The last four budgets have taken €15 billion out of the Irish economy. To put that in perspective, as a country, we spend €57 billion a year to operate. It’s a massive amount of money and in the next four years the government have committed to cutting another €15 billion through a mixture of measures.

This budget was tough on young people. It will affect different aspects of young people’s lives and leave a financial burden on their shoulders for many years. Line by line account for spending can be found here.

Here is a breakdown of some of the key decisions that may affect you.

Welfare and benefits

The cut in the minimum wage to €7.65 will disproportionately affect young people who are working part-time jobs. Unemployed people aged between 22 – 24 saw their social welfare payment cut to €144 per week. This is after it was cut substantially at the special budget in 2008.

The standard rate of job seekers benefit has been reduced to €188.

A further blow was the reduction in training places for people through FAS by over 15,000. Though this is off-set by the announcement of 15,000 new graduate intern and work placement places in both the private and public sector, there was no explanation as to how these places would be sourced.

The newly created Universal Social Charge replaces the income and health levies and will be applied to all income regardless of full or part-time status at the following levels:

0% on all income below €4,004

2% on the first €10,036

4% on the next €5,980

7% on the balance

Child benefit was cut by €10 for each of the first two child payments, €20 for the third child payment and €10 for the fourth child. More information can be found here.

Education

The third level registration fee has been changed to the student contribution and increased to €2,000 each year. The maintenance grant was cut by 4%, effective immediately.

A new income band was created for higher education maintenance grants. This band is between 51,381 and 55,920 and students qualifying for it will have half their student contribution paid for by the state.

From next year the distance for the non-adjacent grant was increased to 45km from the named college which will see a huge number of students forced into lower grant scales.

More information on mainteance grant can be found here.

There has also been a 7% cut in core funding to each college.

A new Post Leaving Course charge of €200 has been introduced from next year.

Mental health

The National Office of Suicide Prevention received an additional one million in funding to support organisations working on suicide prevention in Ireland.

A new youth cafe grant has been established with a funding level of €1.34 million to improve youth facilitates and build new youth cafes.

More information

Here is a list of other cuts that affect young people.

  • The introduction of a school transport charge of €50 for those attending primary school
  • An increase of €50 in the post primary transport charge to €350
  • 5% reduction in grants for Youthreach, adult literacy, School Completion Programme and community education
  • The phasing out of rent relief phased over eight years
  • A cut of €8 in all weekly training allowances
  • A budget allocation of €3m for the children’s referendum
  • A cut of the long term unemployment bonus for those on Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme by €11.80 to €20 a week
  • A reduction in the current funding to youth justice service from €43m to €38.8m

This list is taken from the NYCI whose budget 2011 document can be found here.

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