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PUP cuts Dublin TD says cuts to Pandemic Unemployment Payment are not fair

From tomorrow the payment that supports those who lost their jobs due to pandemic will be closed to new applications

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People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett

Cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) are not fair, a Dublin TD has said.

From tomorrow the payment that supports those who lost their jobs due to pandemic will be closed to new applications.

Meanwhile, those who are still availing of the payment will see a series of reductions over the next few months.

However, speaking today on the final day people can register for the payment, Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said it was not fair on those who are still unable to work.

"Today is the last day that people can actually apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, and then following that there's going to be series of further cuts to the PUP,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.

"On September 7 there will be a €50 reduction - so depending on which level of the PUP you are on, you will see a reduction.

"And again, in early November there will be a further cut, and then in February there will be the final cut.

"One of the things I'm particularly concerned about is that when you reach the 203 euro level of payment - which many people will when it is cut in September - then you will be told you either have to go on to Jobseeker's Allowance or come off any payment.

"To my mind these are all a bit concerning - more than a bit concerning - for sectors that still have no full re-opened: and where people are either unable to return to work because of the uncertainty or because of pandemic restrictions, or where their ability to find work in those sectors is very severely limited still.

"A lot of the young people... would have worked in hospitality, in tourist related work, things like music, entertainment, taxi drivers, travel-related employment - all of these are very, very uncertain and still significantly restricted."

On Tuesday, the Government said just over 221,000 people received the PUP this week - a decrease of nearly 6,900 on last week.

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All PUP recipients are also being asked to confirm their eligibility by July 20.

And after today, anyone who loses their job will now instead have apply for a Jobseeker’s payment.

Responding to suggestions that the PUP is too generous and could hurt a return to work, Richard Boyd Barrett said: "Certainly not in a lot of the cohorts I just mentioned.

"The vast majority of people who are on the PUP are people who have lost income, very significant income, even while on the PUP.

"And have already seen their income cut in many cases, because there were earlier cuts to the PUP.

"People in all those sectors are people who would have been earning very considerably more than €300 or €350".

Deputy Barrett said checks are required instead of cuts.

"I think if it was a matter of checking whether people still had their entitlement to it and were receiving a level of support that was merited, I think that would be a reasonable thing to do.

"But I don't think a pre-emptive decision to cut it for people is fair.

"And certainly, the stories I'm hearing are in the opposite direction.

"The Government is continuing the Employment Wage Subsidy [Scheme] and is continuing a lot of the business supports, and rightly so.

"Some of them have been specifically extended... so if the Government recognises that they need to continue to give support to certain businesses because of the pandemic, well then surely it follows they also need to give that support to people who work in sectors which have been impacted by the pandemic."

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