Budget 2020 Does Not Reflect Student Needs
The Union of Students in Ireland have continuously called for funding into higher education but students asks remain unanswered. It is evident that students have been largely ignored in Budget 2020, there were zero changes made to the student contribution fee or SUSI Grant.
When it comes to carbon taxes, USI are concerned that while they may be a necessary step – we don’t believe the burden should fall on the individual, perhaps the Government should have turned their gaze towards large corporations in this budget. The national student movement fears that this tax will impact the price of public transport for students, should the provider up their ticket prices. When it comes to climate and transport, the Government should be encouraging students to take public transport – not deter them.
Additionally, our learners are being impacted by the low price of minimum wage, students need to be given the opportunity to earn a living wage and USI fear that the impact on Brexit will result in inflation on the price of living in Ireland, something that most students are already struggling to afford.
The Government have packaged the Education Budget as €153m promised towards Higher Education, but this does very little to address the issues which is affecting the running of institutions.
USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said:
“Education is a pillar of any functioning society. A well educated workforce will lead to a strong economy post Brexit, and should be seen as a vital investment.
Students across the country have been calling on the Government to break the barriers of accessing and continuing in education. Students have been forgotten in this budget and for this we are furious, but our voices will be heard. Budget 2020 will be remembered as the budget that lit a fire in students that won’t be put out until reasonable funding is put into third level education. Over the past few weeks we have been in campuses across Ireland, registering students to vote and encouraging them to contact their TD’s and Senators and we will continue to do so. Our representatives will know that Budget 2020 has failed us, and failed the future generation of students.
This budget is papering over the cracks’ of a broken system. What is necessary is core funding, a reduction to the student contribution charge and increased financial support.
We asked for Budget 2020 to help break the barriers to accessing education but instead it has effectively put more up. The cost of living will rise in 2020 and with no support to meet higher costs, students will be worse off next year than they have ever been. While this budget failed to listen to students, we are adamant that this period of ignorance will end when we take to the ballot box in the next general election. The crisis never ended, in fact – it’s only just beginning”
USI welcomes the crucial €2 million funding for Student Counselling Services. According to the National Student Mental Health Report students are suffering with extreme levels of stress, anxiety and depression. This additional funding will allow Higher Education Institutions to provide additional support to students through the Student Counselling Services.
The €2 million additional investment to the Residential Tenancies Board is a positive step which will support the RTB to exercise its greater powers in enforcing the Rent Pressure Zones. Students have been disproportionately affected by the Housing crisis and it is necessary that the RPZ’s are enforced.