More than €3bn paid out in Pandemic Unemployment Payments since March

Some 274,600 people received the payment last week, with an overall weekly payment of €85m, with over €3bn has been paid out overall since the payment began in March. 
More than €3bn paid out in Pandemic Unemployment Payments since March

Liz Canavan Assistant Secretary to the Department of An Taoiseach: 'Please bear with us, we're at a critical stage.' Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The government has paid out over €3bn in the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Some 274,600 people received the payment last week, with an overall weekly payment of €85m, with over €3bn has been paid out overall since the payment began in March. 

In the last week, 8,300 people who were in receipt of the payment have closed their claim because they have returned to work as Ireland moves through their reopening roadmap.

In total, 280,600 previous recipients have returned to work and closed their claim.

The government's restart grant for small businesses has seen 45,372 applications, with 35,544 approved. The government has made an overall payment €146.7 million in grants to these businesses so far.

The number of people expected to close their PUP claim this week has been considerably less after the government announced that pubs would stay closed for another three weeks.

Speaking at the Covid-19 weekly briefing, Liz Canavan, assistant secretary-general from the Department of Taoiseach said the government was taking "a stepwise incremental approach" in order to ensure schools would reopen in September.

"The more we open up the more opportunity for the disease to spread," she said. 

We knew there would likely be some increase in the numbers, however in the last week or so we have shifted away from the trajectory we were on, with increasing numbers in vulnerable groups, outbreaks in the numbers of cases in workplace settings, more young people getting the disease and a shift from Dublin to other counties.

"Please bear with us, we're at a critical stage."

Over 69,470 employers are currently registered with the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), with 390,000 employees currently being supported by the payment, in which the government subsidises part of an employee's salary. 

The current spend for TWSS is €2.4bn.

It has also been agreed this week by government that a ban on redundancy provisions would be extended to September 17. 

Ms Canavan said that "the measures ensure businesses would not be overburdened with debt", and the extension to September will help businesses reopen.

Covid-19 illness benefit has been extended until March 2021 to reassure workers who contract Covid-19 or certified to self isolate that financial assistance will be available.

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