I put forward this notice of motion:
“That Tipperary County Council requests the Government to abolish the student services charge for apprentices which had been implemented on apprentices since January 2014. The imposition of the student service charge of up to €1,433.00 is nothing more than a tax on training.”

€1,433.00 is nothing more than a tax on training. As a council we should use our influence to have this inequitable tax abolished.

These charges are both unreasonable and inequitable for the following reasons:

The charges were imposed by Government in the last budget and implemented from the 01 January 2014 with the object of raising €1.6 million in revenue to the State.

The charge depending on the duration of the training period in an institute of technology can vary from €833.00 to €1,433.00.

This tax on training is referred to as a standard service charge, this despite the fact that student services are not available to, or availed of by apprentices.

Apprentices are employees of companies, not students, and pay income tax and PRSI along with many other taxes and charges already.

Apprentices are amongst the lowest paid workers in the Republic of Ireland and in the first years of employment are paid less than the minimum wage.

No other country in Europe imposes such a charge on apprentices.

There is no age restriction entering apprenticeship and many apprentices in modern Ireland carry the responsibility of a family rent or mortgage costs.

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development recently assessed the Government Action Plan for Jobs and particularly warned that more must be done to tackle youth unemployment. All of the Governments actions to date in this area flies in the face of such experts.

I asked that Tipperary County Council request the Government to ensure that the imposition of student services charges on apprentices is rescinded and that this motion be circulated to all councils.

This motion was approved by the council and was referred to the Minister for Education and Skills, Ms Jan O’Sullivan for her consideration and reply.

I will keep you informed as to progress.