Budget 2016: A student’s view

With this week’s Budget still fresh in the minds of many across the country, how are the measures announced going to affect the third level students of Ireland?

Cian Gaffney is a final year Religion, History and Teaching student in Mater Dei who had this to say about the Budget as a whole: “I do think the budget was technically fair, in that its pros slightly outweighed its cons. I think this is a carefully crafted budget that finely walks the balance between being safe for the parties involved, while giving the illusion of being more progressive than it probably is. Put simply, it’s just politics.”

Students like Cian Gaffney could breathe a sigh of relief when they discovered the Student Maintenance Grant would remain at the same amount as the previous year. However, with rent prices in Dublin continuing to increase the Wexford native felt it was “unfair” not to increase the monthly grant, given the current cost of living.

“Given the ever-increasing exorbitant rent in cities around the country, [particularly] Dublin from personal experience, I think the grant remaining the same is absolutely unfair. The grant should be relative to the average cost conditions of the student body, and this is simply not the case. A balance needed to be struck, and it wasn’t,” he said.

“Whether by incorporating more into the existing student grant, or creating another measure entirely, something should have been done to tackle this directly. The exclusion of such is all the more obvious in this budget given the progressive strides in other areas.”

Those who like Mr Gaffney will be entering the workforce in less than a year also had to pay attention to tax measures being addressed in the Budget. With the hugely unpopular Universal Social Charge (USC) remaining in place but being decreased it was clear the Government was out to win some votes before the general election next year.

“In terms of the USC, taking into account the field my studies would naturally enter me into, I shouldn’t realistically be affected too much either way. However, any adjustment to an unpopular levy in the general populace’s favour will naturally be seen as a positive one,” Mr Gaffney said.

By Matthew Colfer (@_Gogery)

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