By Vivienne Clarke and Joel Slattery
The Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme will not end abruptly, the new Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said.Support could not and would not be withdrawn overnight, he told RTÉ radio’s. The scheme had played “a hugely important role” during the crisis, support would be withdrawn in a phased and gradual manner.
The priority was getting people back to work. As the economy reopens it was going to be like taking a bandage off a wound to see how it had healed, he said.
“The country has come through a period of great trauma,” he said.
There are now over 63,500 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, according to the latest figures from the Department of Social Protection.
The Department estimate that over 400,000 employees are currently being supported by the scheme.
Obviously there had been “major economic disruption” and the July stimulus package would be ambitious with the aim of supporting employers and business, he added.
“We will be getting into the detail today at Cabinet.”
Mr McGrath acknowledged that some businesses would not reopen today, but that it will be some time before there is a full picture.
When asked about the possibility of a reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector, Mr McGrath said that there will be measures in the July package that will take into account the impact of Covid on the sector.
Elsewhere, the Department of Social Protection's latest figures show that payments valued at €153.6m to 439,000 people for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).
This number is a decrease of 26,900 on the 465,900 people paid last week with another 14,000 people receiving their final payment tomorrow.