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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 February 2021

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Questions (46)

Cian O'Callaghan


46. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Finance if the employment wage subsidy scheme will be extended past 31 March 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10723/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The objective of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is to support all employment and maintain the link between the employer and employee insofar as is possible. The EWSS has been a key component of the Government’s response to the continued Covid-19 crisis to support viable firms and encourage employment in the midst of these very challenging times. To date, subsidy payments of almost €2 billion have been made and PRSI relief worth over €341m granted to over 46,800 employers in respect of over 526,800 employees.

I have been clear that there will be no cliff-edge to the EWSS and, as the Deputy will be aware from announcements made on Tuesday 23 February, it has been decided that the scheme is now to be extended until the end of June 2021.

With the agreement by Government on the revised plan, COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead, a cautious and measured approach will be taken as we lay the foundations for the full recovery of social life, public services and the economy. It is therefore appropriate that key business supports should remain in place until the end of the second quarter of 2021.

As the revised plan is implemented, the EWSS will play an important role in getting people back to work as public health restrictions are eased, thereby reducing the numbers dependent on social welfare payments over time, including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Consideration is being given to the fact that continued support could be necessary out to the end of 2021 to help maintain viable businesses and employment and to provide businesses with certainty to the maximum extent possible. Decisions on the form of such support will take account of emerging circumstances and economic conditions as they become clearer.

For those businesses who may need additional support at this time, I would draw attention to the comprehensive package of other business and employer supports that have been made available since the July Stimulus Plan and Budget 2021 - including the Covid Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS), the Credit Guarantee Scheme, the SBCI Working Capital Scheme, Sustaining Enterprise Fund, and the Covid-19 Business Loans Scheme.

The Government remains fully committed to supporting businesses and employers insofar as is possible at this time.