Following in on from last week’s report, part 2 examines how young people feel about the government’s response to the pandemic and their confidence in its future.
Summer travel is commonplace for young people, especially college students but Covid-19 has disrupted those plans. Since March, only 11% of young people have travelled abroad.
Unfortunately, that figure won’t increase drastically into the near future. Over 50% of our respondents don’t think they will be travelling abroad until one year after the initial outbreak in Ireland, with some even saying they won’t travel until it is safe to do so.
At least a third of our respondents disapprove of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, extending until April 2021. At one stage, over 250,000 people were claiming the payment in late March. The benefit was initially €350 per week for anyone who earned over €200 and had lost their job due to the pandemic. In September, it will be reduced to €300 and closed to all new applicants.
The most significant complaint regarding the payment was that many recipients were being paid more by the government than they were earning from their previous job, which was often directed towards college students and part-time workers. In general, there were lots of concerns about people abusing and free-riding the system. Another concern was that the massive increase in welfare would lead to higher taxes and more debt in the future. One respondent noted:
Others objected to the length of the extension, suggesting that it should be continued on month by month basis as the economic environment may have improved by then. Another complaint was about the fact that the payment is unavailable to under 18s, even though there are under 18s working full-time who need the money more than older part-time workers.
Regardless, the majority of young people agree with the extension; many feel the payment is the only way to look after the unemployed and vulnerable in society. As one respondent said:
We asked respondents to what extent do they agree with the following statements:
Over 50% of people agreed with the first statement that the government will help to minimise the spread of COVID-19. A slightly smaller amount agreed that the current government will fulfil its policy expectations. However, almost 35% of respondents were unsure if the government would help the economy bounce back, with 26% strongly disagreeing with the statement.
Generally, young people are happy with the government’s response to COVID-19 but are still worried about the economy.