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.