I have received just recently a copy of the completed report on the impact of the age-related rates on young people from my officials. I am reviewing the report and intend to publish it and make it available to the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
On budget day, I announced the abolition of the age-related rates for 25 year olds and for those aged 18 to 24 who are living independently and receiving State housing supports. These targeted measures will benefit approximately 2,100 young people from January 2020 at a cost of just €5 million. People aged 25 will benefit by over €45 per week and those aged between 18 and 24 who meet the new conditions will benefit by €90. If a young person under age 25 engages in education or training, or employment activation, he or she can receive the higher weekly rate of €203, or €229.20 if he or she participates in the youth employment support scheme.
The policies implemented have been effective as the youth unemployment rate has dropped significantly from over 30% during the great recession period to 12.3% in October 2019, according to our latest reports. The rate is significantly below the EU average, which is 14.5%.
Supporting and improving the capacity of young people to take up employment, education and training opportunities can and do reduce welfare dependency and definitely enhance their employment prospects over time, as well as their ability to earn an adequate income to support themselves. I will continue to focus on youth unemployment and developing initiatives to help young people back to work.
Section 7 of the Social Welfare Bill (No. 2) Bill 2019 provides for the presentation of a poverty impact assessment on the age-related rates to the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection within three months of the Bill's enactment. I intend to live up to that.