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Sunday 21 September 2014

Almost half of young people can’t afford to move out of home

Cuts in social welfare and a rise in youth unemployment making it difficult to flee the nest

Published 25/03/2014 | 12:28

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FOUR out of 10 young people live at home with their parents -- with cuts in social welfare and a rise in youth unemployment making it difficult to flee the nest.

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The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has called on Government to ensure young people are paid the same welfare rate as other people.

Young people are finding it harder now to afford to leave home and live independently, warned Marie-Claire McAleer, the NYCI’s senior research officer.

“We also have to address the serious housing shortage here in Ireland and the Government also needs to develop an integrated housing strategy as a matter of urgency,” she said.

An analysis from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) painted a picture of the social situation of young people aged from 18 to 29 across the EU.

Minister of State for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe, said there was “no doubt” that the personal consequences for young people of being out of work or not having training opportunities were negative.

He said many programmes - including the Government’s internship scheme JobBridge and the Youth Guarantee Scheme to ensure all under-25 are offered employment or education within four-months of becoming unemployed - had been put in place to support young people to get them back to work.

“With the money that is available to the government at the moment we’ve had to make choices regarding supporting different parts of our society,” he stated in relation to cuts to social welfare payments.

“The most important choice that we’ve made for young people is to put funding in place to increase the number of training and work opportunities that is available to them. We know the most important thing for getting people out of the worry and despair they have as a result of the crisis is to get them back into work.”

James Doorley, NYCI deputy director, said many young people living at home were finding it more difficult to contribute to the family income with welfare cuts.

“That is putting both financial pressure but other pressures as well. Young people are stuck. They can’t afford to move out but in many cases they are not able to contribute to the household income,” he said, adding rising rents were also impacting. “They are in a rut, stuck in a ‘catch 22’ sitution.”

The study ‘The social situation of young people in Europe’ found 42pc of young people in Ireland were living with their parents, down slightly from 45pc in 2007, with many opting to move abroad to study or work as the recession took hold.

Another issue highlighted was that 51pc of youths reported cost as a difficulty in accessing health care.

Some 18pc - or almost one in five - experience serious deprivation including being unable to keep their house warm, being able to buy meat or fish at least every second day and opting to buy new rather than second-hand clothes.

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