Labour fury at failure to restore jobseekers' rate to young people
JOBSEEKERS did not benefit from any of the social welfare increases given to pensioners and carers, sparking anger last night from Labour's own youth wing.
It had been strongly rumoured that young people would see the restoration of the full €188 a week rate instead of the lower rate of €100-€144 currently paid, but in the end none of these were changed.
In his Budget speech, Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin said the main weapon against inequality was "not social welfare. It is decent jobs and fair wages".
However, the National Youth Council of Ireland expressed "extreme disappointment" at the failure to reverse cuts to jobseekers allowance for those aged under 26.
It said this was an opportunity to offer more support to young people moving into education, training and work experience.
The NYCI said it welcomed the drop in young people's unemployment in recent years - but this had now stalled.
It pointed out that there were still 40,000 young people on the live register, 18,000 of them for more than a year.
Long-term unemployed will benefit from the increase in the Christmas bonus, though this will not apply to those out of work for less than a year.
Labour Youth described as inexcusable the Budget's "lack of action on the discrimination faced by younger jobseekers", and called for the issue to be addressed in the imminent Social Welfare Bill.
Labour Youth national chairperson Jack Eustace said: "Today's decision not to restore or even raise the level of Jobseeker's Allowance available to younger people is simply inexcusable.
"Again and again, Labour Youth has raised this injustice and the intolerable way it perpetuates inequality in modern Ireland.
"To see no restorative action in a Budget which nonetheless found money to cut taxes is simply an insult."
"The decision not to take action in Budget 2016 is one we can't stand over. We cannot over-emphasise the importance of this opportunity not being missed."
A number of top-up payments are paid for those on Community Employment, Tús, Rural Social Scheme, Gateway and JobBridge employment schemes.
Participants of these schemes will receive a top-up payment of €2.50 per week from January. In 2016 this will benefit 43,000 people across these activation schemes.