Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (491, 503, 505)

Cathal Crowe

Question:

491. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Social Protection if an increased pandemic unemployment payment system will be considered for wedding industry specialists to help support ongoing expenses and costs. [6492/21]

View answer

Patricia Ryan

Question:

503. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection if the pandemic unemployment payment will be extended beyond March 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6814/21]

View answer

Holly Cairns

Question:

505. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on extending the pandemic unemployment payment scheme beyond 31 March 2021 due to the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6906/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 491, 503 and 505 together.

The Government will continue to keep all aspects of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) under review and future decisions will be informed by the trajectory of the pandemic and the evolving public health situation.

Government intervention through the introduction of the PUP and other targeted supports has provided key financial assistance to employees and businesses who have been impacted by Covid-19. Since last March over 820,000 people have benefited from the PUP and the total expenditure is approximately €5.6 billion. These figures reflect the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our economy and society and demonstrate also the Government's commitment to continue to provide effective targeted supports.

The rates of PUP are aligned with prior average earnings which provides a fair and targeted approach to those who have lost their employment as a consequence of Covid-19. It would not be appropriate to introduce different rates of payment for a specific sector or industry.

I hope that clarifies the position at this time.