Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has spoken out on the Government’s failure to publish a report on the poverty impact of reduced rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance for young people, which is now over a year overdue.
This delay comes 18 months after the Government committed to completing a poverty impact assessment of the reduced payment, and yet, we still have no timeframe from the Minister for the publication of this key report.
It was to be published within 3 months back in October 2019 when a Sinn Féin amendment was passed at Committee Stage of the Social Welfare Bill. At present, 18-24 year olds receive a reduced Jobseeker’s rate of payment of €112.70 per week.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“It is absolutely unacceptable that this Poverty Assessment on the impact of reduced rates of jobseekers for young people has still not been published by the Minister.
“The results of the poverty impact assessment are well overdue and the Minister’s delay in publishing the findings demonstrate how little this Government care about young people.
“Current reduced rates of Jobseeker’s for young people are far too low to support even a minimum standard of living which is set at €250. That the Government is dragging its heels suggests that the Poverty Impact Assessment has underlined what we already know.
“These inadequate rates leave many young people who are seeking work in poverty, or at serious risk of poverty, and force people all over the State to rely on support from their families.
“The pandemic has affected young workers the most, and recent CSO results tell us that 59% of people aged 15-24 were unemployed in March. This represents some of the highest levels of youth unemployment ever seen and it is not good enough that they are subject to shocking rates of social welfare supports.
“Reduced rates of Jobseekers Allowance is disempowering, demoralising and does not give young people the backing they need and deserve.
“I am calling on Minister Humphreys to publish the Poverty Impact Assessment immediately and to bring Jobseeker’s Allowance rates for young people in line with the current maximum rate removing reduced payments based on age.
“We need to see these core social welfare rates moved towards the minimum essential standard of living.”