Pandemic unemployment payment to end by Christmas

Pandemic unemployment payment to end by Christmas

A phased reduction of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) from €350 a week to €203 between August and Christmas will form the bedrock of next Monday’s July Jobs Plan.

“Intense negotiations” led by Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath will take place in the coming days to finalise the multi-billion package, aimed at aiding the economy from the impact the Covid-19.

According to senior Government sources, promises to avoid a cliff-edge on August 10 will see the PUP extended but with a focus on reducing down the payments month by month.

Earlier suggestions that a two-stage drop to €275 a week and then to the €203 have given way to proposals of having more intervals on the way down. Senior sources close to the process have said the final decisions on that element are yet to be taken.

However, the Irish Examiner can reveal the plan will include proposals to:

  • Extend the PUP and the Temporary Wage Supplement Scheme until year-end;
  • Improve the Credit Guarantee scheme for businesses;
  • A provision to give grants supports as opposed to new loans;
  • A waiver of commercial rates until the end of the year at a cost of €560 million;
  • Accelerate the start of so-called “shovel ready projects” which can help to get people back to work quickly.
  • Target tax breaks for certain employment heavy industries like tourism and hospitality are likely.

Mr McGrath confirmed unlike the previous waiver of rates which only covered businesses that closed, the government is examining the scope of the waiver to include businesses that have remained open.

Sources from across the government have made clear there is a recognition across government that the plan “needs to be of a sufficient scale and needs to be ambitious” if it is to have any meaningful impact on the struggling sectors of the economy.

The revelations come as it emerged that the PUP is being paid this week to 345,600 people, a decrease of 67,300 on the 412,900 people paid last week, the largest weekly decrease to date. It is also a decrease of 252,400 or 42% since May 5 when 598,000 people received the payment.

The government will introduce new rules on Monday to "maximise compliance" with self-isolation for people landing in Ireland.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that people who are planning on coming to Ireland should be aware that they must self isolate at nominated addresses. Failure to be at an address or fill out the passenger locator form is an offence.

However, tourism businesses have reported denying service to tourists who haven't isolated for the 14 days and Mr Donnelly said that measures will be introduced to ensure compliance with both the form and isolating.

Elsewhere, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris got formal Government approval to publish legislation to establish his department.  



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