Caritas Cares Ireland Report - Caritas Europa

Caritas Cares Ireland Report - Caritas Europa

Caritas Cares Poverty and social exclusion among young people Ireland Report September 2017 What this report is about This report describes the main...

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Caritas Cares Poverty and social exclusion among young people

Ireland Report September 2017

What this report is about This report describes the main challenges related to poverty and social inclusion of young people in Ireland and provides recommendations for policy makers to address these challenges. The recommendations are based on an analysis of the grassroots experience of Social Justice Ireland which is compared to official data.

About Social Justice Ireland Social Justice Ireland is an independent think-tank and justice advocacy organisation. The organisation works to build a just society by tackling the causes of inequality, providing independent evidence and offering credible solutions. It works to improve the quality of public policy by providing independent social analysis influencing the public debate, to ensure it focuses on the needs of people with experience of poverty as well as vulnerable groups. Its work focuses on national and international issues related to poverty, inequality, social exclusion, sustainability and the environment. It represents the interests of vulnerable groups in its dialogue with Government, the National Parliament and policy makers. To this end it prepares regular policy briefings on specific issues, an annual Socio-Economic Review, a quarterly Employment Monitor, a National Social Monitor, two Budget briefings, an annual Social Policy Book and also engages in bilateral meetings with the following Government Departments: the Department of Social Protection, Department of Health, Department of Housing, Department of Education and Skills, Department of Housing, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Department of Finance and Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Programmes that we carry out aimed at families with Programmes that we carry out aimed at young children: people: 

Community, volunteering and cultural activities



Community, volunteering and cultural activities

Recent publications by Social Justice Ireland:    

Europe: The Excluded Suffer while Europe Stagnates Employment Monitor – Issue 3 Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy - 2017 Review Fairness and Tax Reform

  

Budget 2017 Analysis and Critique Poverty, Deprivation and Inequality Budget Choices 2017

Contact: Michelle Murphy [email protected] +35312130724 or Twitter: @SocialJusticeI or facebook

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Ireland’s main challenges related to the poverty and social exclusion of young people1:  INSUFFICIENT MINIMUM INCOME SCHEMES: These are insufficient to lift young people out of poverty and social exclusion Young people are not entitled to the full rate of unemployment benefit until they reach 26 and, even then, it is insufficient and social assistance rates for young people are below the poverty line.

 HOUSING: Limited access to housing is placing young people at a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion The number of households on the waiting list for social housing is high and the percentage of those on the waiting list for over seven years has more than doubled. With rising rental prices, both average wages and rent supplements are insufficient to ensure access to housing for young people.

 UNEMPLOYMENT: High unemployment rates amongst young people There has been a rapid increase in the number of unemployed young people under the age of 25. There is concern that young people experiencing long-term unemployment may face increased challenges in entering the labour market.

Policy recommendations:

Youth population: 827,813 Young people 17.5% (EU average: 17.4%) Young immigrants: 48.9% Early school leavers: 6.3% (EU average: 10.7%) Youth Unemployment: 13.7% (EU average: 14.7) Housing cost overburden: 30.1% (EU average: 40.4%) At risk of poverty: 37.6% (EU average: 28.1%) Severe material deprivation: 12.1% (EU average: 11.4%) Young people, Unemployment & School Leavers: 2016; Migration, Poverty Risk, 2013. Latest available data accessed 18/05/2017

1. Finance the supply of new social housing: put in place off-balance sheet financing structures for municipal budgets. This will require utilising a Special Purpose Vehicle.

2. Equalise Jobseekers’ payments for young people under 26 years of age:

One of the least justifiable welfare policies pursued in recent years has been the increase in the age of eligibility for full Jobseekers’ payments to 26 years. For example, homeless young people have been disproportionately affected by austerity measures, and the age threshold is one of the most obviously discriminatory, with little obvious benefit. In Budget 2018, Government should move to equalise Jobseekers’ rates for those aged under 26 with the rest of the population.

3. Design an effective Employment Strategy for Young People: Experiences of unemployment and long-term unemployment increase the challenges for young people in becoming fully active in the labour market in the future. Government should adopt policies to address the worrying trend of youth unemployment, especially long-term unemployment among young people. In particular these should include education and literacy initiatives as well as training and skills programmes.

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For the purpose of this report, young people are considered people aged 18 to 29, in line with the criteria of the European Commission. The source of the data in the box is from Eurostat, consulted on 12/05/2017 for the latest available data.

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1. Poverty and social exclusion of young people in Ireland: the reality behind the data The problems of most concern in Ireland

 Insufficiency of minimum income schemes to lift young people out of poverty and social exclusion  Limited access to housing

Insufficiency of minimum income schemes to lift young people out of poverty and social exclusion Although young people have access to unemployment benefits, these lack the capacity to lift them out of poverty and social exclusion, as young people are not entitled to the full rate of unemployment benefit until they reach 26. The rate of unemployment benefit for young people aged 18-24 is only €102.70 per week, compared to the rate for young people aged 25 which is €147.80 per week and the rate for all adults over the age of 25, which is €193.00 per week. An analysis of the social assistance rates paid to young people has been shown not only to be insufficient, but that most rates are below the poverty line.2 Most weekly social assistance rates paid to single people over 25 are almost €43 below the poverty line. The social assistance rates paid to a young person aged 18-24 are €133 below the poverty line and those paid to a young person aged 25 are €105 below the poverty line.3

Limited access to housing There are 96,000 households on the waiting list for social housing in Ireland, according to the Social Housing Needs Assessments published in December 2016. Of those households on the waiting list, the highest percentage is in Dublin (39%). Of the 91,600 households, almost half (46%) have been waiting in excess of four years, and 21%, or 19 383 households, have been waiting more than seven years, compared to only nine per cent in 2013. The price of a home is now beyond the reach of many low-income families in Ireland, with the latest Daft Rental Report indicating a national rental increase of 13.5%.4 Rent inflation in Dublin is at 15%, the highest since 2014, with rents increased by 65% on their lowest rate in 2010. The average monthly rent nationally is now €1,111, reaching a high of €1,855 in South County Dublin.5 Even with supports such as Rent Supplement, this is outside the reach of those in receipt of social welfare payments and substantially out of reach of those on the

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Based on a relative income poverty line of €235.73 for a single person, gained by updating the 60% median income poverty line to 2017 levels for Ireland, using published CSO data on the growth in average hourly earnings in 2016 (+0.2%) and ESRI projections for 2017 (+2.3%). 3 See Social Justice Ireland, 2017, Socio-Economic Review 2017, for more details, link. 4 Daft.ie, 2017, The Daft.ie Rental Price Report: An analysis of recent trends in the Irish rental market 2016 in Review, link. 5 Daft.ie, 2017, The Daft.ie Rental Price Report: An analysis of recent trends in the Irish rental market 2016 in Review, link.

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average wage. With the insufficiency of housing benefits and the increasing precariousness of the housing market, there are growing numbers of people who are either no longer able to afford to stay in their current homes or whose tenure is uncertain.

High unemployment rates amongst young people The high levels of unemployment are a major concern regarding the access of young people to employment. While the increase in unemployment has spread across all ages and sectors, there has been a very rapid increase in the number of unemployed under 25 years-of-age. The number in this group more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, peaking at 83,100 in the second Quarter of 2009. Since then decreases have occurred, reaching 30,300 in late 2016.6 Although we have limited empirical knowledge of the reasons for these decreases, some part is most likely associated with emigration trends over many of these years. Although youth unemployment represents just over one-fifth of the total population that are unemployed, there is merit in giving it particular attention. Experiences of unemployment, and in particular long-term unemployment, alongside an inability to access any work, training or education, tend to leave a ‘scarring effect’ on young people. It increases the challenges associated with getting them active in the labour market at any stage in the future and this is of concern.

Current services to fight poverty and social exclusion among young people The following services that could lift young people out of poverty and social exclusion are generally not available:  

Access to affordable housing Access to education and training (formal, non-formal or informal)

Transmission of poverty The transmission of poverty from childhood to young people is partially a problem, since child poverty in Ireland is high, as is poverty among young people. The main causes are inadequate income and inadequate services and supports for families. Child poverty must be addressed in the context of family poverty, therefore the supports, income and services that the family requires to move out of poverty must be in place. In Ireland, 19.2% of the population live in households with low work intensity. 7 21.7% of young people live with their parents in households with low work intensity.8 There is great concern over the number of children living in jobless households and the potential intergenerational transmission of poverty.9 Ongoing levels of poverty and social exclusion mean that people are not fully participating in economic and civic life in their communities. Having families and individuals living in poverty 6

CSO Quarterly National Household Survey (various) 2009-2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/qnhs/. Eurostat, 2015, People living in households with very low work intensity, link. 8 Eurostat, 2015, Young people living in households with very low work intensity by sex, age and living/not living with parents, link. 9 Department of Social Protection and The Economic and Social Research Institute, 2012, Work and poverty in Ireland: An Analysis of the CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2004-2010, link. 7

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for the duration of their lifetime leads to poor outcomes in terms of employment, housing, health care, education, participation, and mental health.

Young people at higher risk of poverty

 Young people with disabilities

Data regarding poverty and homelessness in Ireland is not disaggregated by age, therefore there is a lack of data to identify the particular groups of youth in Ireland that are at a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion. However, those most at risk of poverty in 2015 were the following groups:   

Individuals who unemployed (43.5%) Individuals living in households where there was no person at work (39.6%) Individuals living in accommodation that was rented at below the market rate or rent free (39%, with a 52.5% deprivation rate).10

Given that homeless people and single parents have a high risk of poverty as groups, then it can be assumed that young people in those situations are also at high risk of poverty and social exclusion. However, without official statistics and data to back this up it is not possible to make an informed assessment of the situation of these groups.

Young people with disabilities Young people aged 16-24 in Ireland have an at risk of poverty and social exclusion rate (AROPSE) rate of 37.6%, 11 however, people with disabilities have the highest at-risk-ofpoverty, deprivation and consistent poverty rates.12 Results from Census 2011 showed that a total of 595,335 people had a disability in Ireland; equivalent to 13% of the population13 and the number of people with a disability experiencing poverty in Ireland has increased by 10,000 since 2012.14 The main problems facing young people with disabilities are: access to the labour market, access to activation supports such as the Youth Guarantee, access to sufficient income to live life with dignity (Ireland does not have a cost of disability payment, for example), access to appropriate accommodation and relevant education and training. It is a matter of concern that the rate of persons with disabilities in the labour force is less than half of that of the population in general, with a participation rate of only 30%. Apart from restricting the participation of young people with disabilities in society, it also ties them into state-dependent low-income situations.

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An analysis by socio-demographic characteristics showed those most at risk of poverty in 2015. Government of Ireland Central Statistics Office, 2015, Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), link. 11 Eurostat, 2013, Young people's at-risk-of-poverty or exclusion rate by sex and country of birth, link. 12 Government of Ireland Central Statistics Office, 2015, Survey on Income and Living Conditions, link. 13 Government of Ireland Central Statistics Office, Profile 8 Our Bill of Health, 2012, link. 14 Social Justice Ireland, 2017, Socio-Economic Review 2017, link.

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Therefore, it is not surprising chronically ill or have a disability are part of a group at high risk of poverty.15 For many people with disabilities, including young people with disabilities, the opportunity to take up employment is denied to them and they are trapped in unemployment, poverty, or both. Some progress was made in Budget 2015 to increase supports intended to help people with disabilities access employment. However, sufficient progress has not been made and recent Budgets have begun to reduce these services, which is even more worrisome given the growing employment challenges of the past few years.16

that Ireland’s poverty figures reveal that people who are

Testimony supplied by the Disability Federation of Ireland (http://www.disability-federation.ie/) A young person described, in research conducted by the DFI, how he had experienced a range of “unsuitable” services since leaving school 6 years ago. Jason attended a specialist training centre for approximately 3 years, following school, which he described as ‘”really terrible”. The supports there were unstructured, and without time frames, and he felt that the staff and management showed little ambition for him. He says he was: “basically left watching documentaries all day”. Two different education-based programmes followed this. While he made good friends at these placements, neither appeared to work for him academically. In both placements, the standard of work was too high for him: “I couldn’t keep up and it was actually causing me a lot of stress.” He had mixed experiences in these placements: it worked when staff took the time to support and explain things to him, but he also had poor experiences ranging from being misunderstood to being ignored right through to being bullied. In one workplace Jason reports that staff ignored him when he requested help. “They were a bit rude when I would ask them things – they wouldn’t show me. They would walk on past … not answer me. It was kind of stressful.” In another placement, Jason felt bullied by a member of staff who refused to work with him. He explained to this member of staff that he had a disability but: “any time I would go over, she would say ‘I don’t want you working on my till’ ... I came home upset. She would pretend not to hear me.” At times when he informed people of his Aspergers, he was met with disbelief because he is ”so normal looking”. Jason thought that some of the difficulties he encountered at work were because of this lack of awareness and understanding of his particular challenges. He is currently attending a programme designed around his individual needs. He would like to work 3 days a week and use the supports of this service the other two days. He believes he requires support within the workplace to ”just check in on me” and to sort any little issues out, but also requires other supports, such as counselling, yoga, fitness, etc. to enable him to work with the challenges of his disability. This young man’s experience echoes many instances that the Disability Federation of Ireland comes across of people who are not given appropriate and timely support that helps them to progress with their lives in accordance with their needs and capacities.

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Individuals who were not at work due to illness or disability have a 53.2% deprivation rate. See Government of Ireland Central Statistics Office, 2015, Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), link. 16 See The Economic and Social Research Institute, Watson, D. and Nolan, B, 2011, A Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland, link; The Economic and Social Research Institute, Watson, D., Banks, J. & Lyons, S., 2015, Educational and employment experiences of people with a disability in Ireland, link; Disability Federation of Ireland, 2016, Fact Sheet Employment and Disability, link; and Disability Federation of Ireland, 2012, Disability in Ireland: Some Facts and Figures, link.

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Rights that young people have more difficulties in actualising

 Right to social protection

Young people in Ireland have more difficulties in securing their right to social protection. As mentioned above, young people are not being entitled to the full rate of unemployment benefit until they reach 26. Social assistance rates paid to a young person aged 18-24 are €133 below the poverty line and those paid to a young person aged 25 are €105 below the poverty line.

BOX 1. Ratification and implementation of the European Social Charter related to young people IRELAND has ratified the majority of articles of the 1996 Revised European Social Charter. Some of the following articles are not ratified and could have an impact on the social inclusion of young people:  

  

Right of mothers who are nursing their infants to sufficient time off for this purpose (article 8.3). Right of workers with family responsibilities to equal opportunities and equal treatment; to develop or promote services, public or private, in particular child day-care services and other childcare arrangements (article 27.1). Right to housing: measures to promote access to housing of an adequate standard (article 31.1). Right to housing: measures to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual elimination (article 31.2). Right to housing: measures to make the price of housing accessible to those without adequate resources (article 31.3).

Ireland has ratified the Additional Protocol providing for a System of Collective Complaints. This allows parliament and civil society to effectively monitor the obligations in fulfilling and providing basic social rights. Refer to the link for more information on the provisions accepted by Ireland. FACTSHEET: Ireland and the European Social Charter

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2. How effective are Ireland’s policies to fight poverty and social exclusion among young people? Policies that are having a positive impact Policies

Reasons why they are being effective

Youth Guarantee

The main focus of the European Social Fund (ESF) is on enhanced labour mobility with the aim of helping to find jobs for hundreds of thousands of the scheme’s participants. The Springboard+ 2016 scheme provides free part time and full time opportunities to re-skill and up-skill up to 5 825 jobseekers, in SMEs and multinationals. However, the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) has yet to produce jobs for all 13.900 young people so far supported under YEI-financed measures.

Education policies combating The DEIS (Delivering Educational Opportunity in early school-leaving and Schools) has led to the share of early school early drop-outs leavers 17 falling to 6.9% in 2015, substantially below the 8% target. The DEIS Plan 2017 sets out the Department of Education and Skills’ goals, targets and actions for improving the learning outcomes and overall life opportunities of children and young people at greatest risk of not reaching their potential by virtue of their socio-economic circumstances. It has specific targets as regards pupil retention and progression to Further and Higher Education and aims to continue to improve retention rates at secondary level in DEIS schools. Access childcare

to

affordable There is potential for a future initiative, introduced in Budget 2017, aimed at low-income families and that will include young parents, to make an impact.18 However, this initiative will not be rolled out until September 2017.

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I.e. 18-24 year-olds with at most lower secondary education and not in further education and training. 18 For more information, see Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2017, Q&A on the Affordable Childcare Scheme, link.

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Policies that have a limited impact The following policies are having a limited impact in fighting poverty and social exclusion among young people:

Policies Access to affordable housing

Gaps or reasons why they are not being effective There are 91,600 households on the waiting list for social housing and the percentage of these on the waiting list for over seven years has more than doubled since 2013 (as detailed above).

Example of an effective policy or programme related to young people Pathways to Work 19 , which was launched in 2012 by the Department of Social Protection, introduced new integrated employment and support services involving new ‘one-stop-shops’ (Intreo) intended to deal both with accessing benefits and obtaining support in order to return to work. It is focused on activation strategies intended to ensure that jobs are available to the unemployed. There were 67,422 people availing themselves of activation programmes in February 2016. The Labour Market Council has noted that Pathways to Work has resulted in improvements in services to jobseekers in a relatively short period of time, but also noted shortcomings (such as the high caseworker/client ratio, fragmented support/training services, and a lack of robust evaluation of the effectiveness of initiatives and programmes.20 The European Commission has noted the need for a review of the Intreo system.

Example of an ineffective policy or programme related to young people The Department of Social Protection took the policy decision in Budget 2010 to reduce the unemployment support available to young people. Subsequently, unemployment benefits for young people under the age of 25 are maintained at a lower rate. This has resulted in a significant increase in the risk-of-poverty rate of this group over the period 2010 to 2015 (the latest year for which statistics are available). The at-risk-of-poverty rate of 18-24 year-olds increased from 19.9% in 2010 to 24.5% in 2015. The corresponding rate for 20-29 year-olds shows an increase from 9.1% in 2010 to 14.2% in 2015.21 22

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See Department of Education and Skills, 2016, Pathways to Work 2016-2020, link. Labour Market Council, 2014, Interim Report Pathways to Work, https://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/Interim-Report-of-the-Labour-Market-Council.pdf. 21 Eurostat, 2015, Young people at risk of poverty by sex and age, link. 22 See National Youth Council of Ireland, NYCI Briefing Paper 2, Job Seekers Allowance, link. 20

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The use of EU funds in Ireland to combat youth poverty and social exclusion The European Social Fund is partially contributing to reducing the poverty and social exclusion of young people. For the ESF at least 80% of resources at national level have been allocated to:  Promoting sustainable and quality employment and labour mobility;  Education, training and lifelong learning; and  Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty and discrimination. The European Social Fund is partially contributing to a reduction in the transmission of poverty to young people. An excess of 35% of the total ESF allocation has been directed to the programme aimed at promoting social inclusion and combating poverty and discrimination. The SICAP programme (social inclusion and community activation programme) in particular is aimed at tackling socio-economic disadvantage in rural areas. The following improvements to the management of ESF could help to ensure it better promotes social inclusion of young people and/or prevents transmission of poverty. A full evaluation of employment and training programmes currently operated by Government would allow ESF funds to be directed to those programmes which have the best outcomes for the cohort of young people who are furthest from the labour market. Other EU funding schemes that are contributing positively to reducing poverty and social exclusion in Ireland, related to young people, include the social inclusion element of the LEADER programme and is aimed at addressing poverty and social exclusion in rural areas.

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3. The response of Caritas: promising practices that combat poverty and social exclusion among youth Annual Budget Project Website Other link Description Social Justice Ireland publishes an annual Budget Choices Policy Briefing prior to the National Budget every year. This document is published in June and is presented to the relevant Parliamentary Committees and to the Department of Social Protection Pre Budget Forum.

Problem addressed To highlight fair budgetary choices and to show how measures can be financed, there is a Social Protection element to this briefing every year, outlining the increases in income support required and how this can be funded.

Results In 2016, Social Justice Ireland recommended that all social welfare payments be increased by €6.50 per week. This amount is calculated by establishing the inflation rate between 2010 and 2016 and using this to calculate the buying power of the social welfare rate. Between 2010 and 2016 inflation was 3.44%, implying that the buying power of €188 (the social welfare rate for a single unemployed person since 2010) was worth €194.50 in 2016.

Innovative features & success factors A concerted part of our Budget campaign in 2016 was to increase social welfare payments by €6.50 per week. In the Budget, the Department of Social Protection announced an increase of €5 per week beginning from March 2017 – a move we welcomed.

Public Participation Networks Capacity Building and Training Programme https://www.socialjustice.ie/content/civil-society-policyhomehttp://www.housing.gov.ie/community/community-and-voluntarysupports/public-participation-networks/public-participation Description Public Participation Networks (PPN) are networks of volunteer-led, community-based organisations, which have been set up by Government in each Local Authority in Ireland. Social Justice Ireland has been deeply involved in supporting these networks, including: 

 

Designing and delivering over 50 free training sessions to PPNs and community groups all over Ireland. Further training programmes and events are planned for all regions in 2017. Hosting a series of biannual regional meetings to enable PPN members to network with each other and share experiences. Sitting on the National Advisory Group for PPNs and supporting their development through policy initiatives.

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 

Mentoring PPN staff and volunteers in 1:1 sessions on a range of organisational topics. Giving free Associate Membership of Social Justice Ireland to PPN member groups, and giving them access to our library of policy documents.

Problem addressed This programme is designed to ensure groups at local level can participate fully in local decision-making processes and local policymaking processes.

Results Nine regional seminars have taken place since 2015 attended by 200 people from 28 of the 31 local authority areas. A further 14 county-specific training sessions attended by 300 people were also organised.

Innovative features & success factors This programme is designed to increase the capacity of local organisations in the community and voluntary (NGO) and civil society sectors in order to engage in policy making and decision making at local level. The Government has committed to representation from civil society on decision making at local level and this programme aims to ensure those organisations and individuals have the skills, information and support needed to fully engage in this process.

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4. Recommendations to address the described problems Recommendation 1: Finance the supply of new social housing. Put in place offbalance sheet financing structures within the EU Memorandum of Understanding to generate sufficient capital. This will require utilising a Special Purpose Vehicle.  Problem addressed if implemented: Lack of availability of affordable Housing. Currently there are waiting lists of up to four years and there will be additional demand that will emerge as Ireland’s population grows.

 Governmental department or responsible institution that could lead this measure: The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.  Main arguments supporting this measure: There are over 96,000 households on the waiting list for social housing. The price of a home is now beyond the reach of many lowincome families in Ireland and will continue to be so for the near future. Government must invest in social housing in order to accommodate these families. Investment in social housing will yield significant returns in terms of both employment and productivity. Thereby, it will address one of the largest infrastructural deficits in Ireland today. Securing sufficient finance to provide the scale of social housing required is a major challenge. It is clear that the Exchequer cannot provide the funding necessary to deal with the current demand, and more sustainable solutions are required. Social Justice Ireland recommends that Government put in place an off-balance sheet mechanism that could access the lowcost finance required to address the lack of supply of social housing sufficient to eliminate waiting lists.

 Policy framework: 1) Special Purpose Vehicle for Off Balance Sheet Borrowing: Use a vehicle such as NAMA23 which has expertise in developing such a mechanism. Given the fact that there are about 107 000 social housing units owned by Local Authorities and paying rent regularly, it should be possible to put together a proposal that meets the Eurostat conditions for an acceptable off-balance sheet initiative. One of the advantages of using NAMA is that it already has a Special Purpose Vehicle that has been approved by Eurostat.24 2) Structural reform clause contained in the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. This measure corresponds to Target 11.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set to be accomplished in 2030: “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing (…)”.  How the European Commission could support this measure: Government could substantially increase the resources available to finance social housing by invoking the structural reform clause contained in the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. This clause allows Governments to cater for the short-term costs of implementing structural reforms 23

NAMA is the National Asset Management Agency. It was established in 2009 in response to the financial crisis. https://www.nama.ie/about-us/. 24 Eurostat, 2009: Letter from Eurostat to the Government of Ireland on acceptable off-balance sheet initiatives, link.

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that will have long-term positive budgetary effects. While additional ‘off-the-books’ financing would still be required, this clause would allow for substantial additional ‘onthe-books’ financing to be available to address one of the biggest scandals of Ireland’s current reality - the lack of appropriate accommodation for more than 90,000 low-income households.

Recommendation 2: Increase resources for the Public Participation Networks to promote more effective engagement between Public Participation Networks and Local Government  Problem addressed if implemented: Increasing participation at local level in decision making and policy making.

 Governmental department or responsible institution that could lead this measure: The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.  Main arguments supporting this measure: To strengthen the capacity of communities and of environmental, social inclusion & voluntary groups to contribute positively to the community in which they reside/participate. Building real engagement at local level is a developmental process that requires intensive work and investment. Increased resources would support this ongoing work and lead to more active citizenship and real participation in decision-making.  Policy framework: An increase in the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government budget allocation for PPN resources and supports as part of the community and local government budget. This measure corresponds to Target 11.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries”.

 How the European Commission could support this measure: International institutions such as the EU, Council of Europe and OECD highlight that the participation of citizens in public life and their right to influence the decisions that affect their lives and communities are at the centre of democracy. Open and inclusive policy-making increases public participation, enhances transparency and accountability, builds civic capacity and leads to increased buy-in and better decision-making. The European Commission can continue to point out to Government the importance of citizen participation in the move towards more policy development and decision making processes at local level.25

Recommendation 3: Reduce the impediments faced by young people with a disability to obtain employment.

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See Council of Europe, 2009, Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process, link.

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 Problem addressed if implemented: There are serious barriers for people with disabilities to access to employment. Many people with disabilities who take up employment face losing their benefits, in particular their medical card. This ignores the additional costs faced by people with a disability in pursuing their day-to-day lives. This means that for many young people with disabilities the opportunity to take up employment is denied to them and they are trapped in unemployment, poverty, or both.

 Main arguments supporting this measure: Further efforts should be made to reduce the impediments faced by young people with a disability to obtaining employment. This should include a cost of disability payment (a measure which would begin to offset the cost of disability) and a Disability Tax Credit for people with a disability who gain employment. The Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities should be implemented in full with a progress review in Quarter 4 2018 and care must be taken to ensure that eligibility and supports for all employment activation schemes include people with disabilities.  Policy framework: The Government has published a Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities.26 In the Programme for Government, there is a commitment to support people with a disability who want to rejoin the labour market and gain employment, including incentives for employers.27 It also commits to fully implementing the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities, which was published in 2015. This measure corresponds to Target 8.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value”.

 How the European Commission could support this measure: Include monitoring the Rights of people with disabilities within the European Semester Process.

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Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities, link. Government of Ireland (2016), A Programme for Partnership Government, link.

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Disclaimer The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. Caritas Europa reserves the right to not be held responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in this publication. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected.

This publication has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" (2014-2020). For further information please consult: http://ec.europa.eu/social/easi

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