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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (29, 34, 37, 71, 77, 82, 86, 103, 106, 108, 116)

Cathal Crowe

Question:

29. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will restart the pandemic unemployment payment in view of the continued impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on employment. [57695/21]

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Pa Daly

Question:

34. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the Budget 2022 allocation to her Department in view of the potential need for further pandemic unemployment payments given the changes to night-time hospitality restrictions recently announced. [57964/21]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

37. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the extent to which further changes in social welfare supports are needed to address issues arising from the increased incidence of Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57920/21]

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Mark Ward

Question:

71. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Social Protection if persons who work in the night-time economy who can no longer work due to the new restrictions will be entitled to the pandemic unemployment payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57550/21]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

77. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will reopen the pandemic unemployment payment to new applicants in view of the fourth wave of the pandemic. [57928/21]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

82. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will restore the pandemic unemployment payment to its original rate in view of the fourth wave of the pandemic. [57927/21]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

86. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will halt further reductions in the pandemic unemployment payment in view of the situation regarding Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57929/21]

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Rose Conway-Walsh

Question:

103. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will reverse the cuts to the pandemic unemployment payment particularly for workers in sectors that continue to be subject to Covid-19-related restrictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57969/21]

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Joan Collins

Question:

106. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will reinstate the pandemic unemployment payment for those workers who are affected by the restrictions of closure at midnight to the level the payment was at in March 2020. [57547/21]

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Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

108. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Social Protection the actions taken to ensure Covid-19-related supports are in place and can be processed quickly and effectively for those who need them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57833/21]

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James O'Connor

Question:

116. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to extend the pandemic unemployment payment in view of recently announced Covid-19 measures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58011/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29, 34, 37, 71, 77, 82, 86, 103, 106, 108 and 116 together.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) was introduced as an emergency response to an almost complete economic shutdown. The Government mandated public health restrictions meant that the hundreds of thousands of employees and self-employed did not have alternative employment options. Since then the number of PUP recipients has fallen dramatically from a peak of over 600,000 in May 2020 to just over 57,000 this week. The numbers are continuing to reduce and have fallen by over 3,300 within the last week.

The recent Government announcement does not provide for a re-imposition of business closures and represents a curfew in the night time industry. Employers are encouraged to avail of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to retain staff on their payroll at this time. Other social welfare supports are also available, such as jobseeker's benefit.

The plan to exit from PUP on a graduated basis over time remains in place. The 2022 allocation for PUP is €75 million. The situation remains under close review by Government at this time.

I trust this clarifies the position.

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