Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has warned the government that time is running out to stop the planned PUP cuts scheduled to occur in one week.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“There is now just one week left until the government’s planned PUP cuts are due to take place. These cuts will see workers’ incomes slashed by €50 per week in many cases, and by even more for other workers including younger workers.
“The clock is ticking on this vital issue and time is running out. Thousands of workers are anxiously looking to 7th September when their income is due to be slashed. Their finances will be devastated by these changes, especially younger workers whose Jobseeker’s Allowance is capped at just €112.70 per week and can be even lower if they live at home with their family due to means testing.
“There is now just one week left until these cuts kick in and so I am making another urgent appeal to Minister Humphreys to do the right thing here and stop these cuts.
“This should not be happening when sectors remain shut due to public health advice. These workers are unable to return to work due to no fault of their own and are being prevented by the government from returning to work. It should follow that the government will not punish them unfairly for this. These workers are not unemployed, they are not seeking work elsewhere.
“Ministers have speculated that all restrictions may be lifted towards the end of October, which would be a very welcome development and an important step towards normality if it can be delivered in a safe and manageable way in line with public health advice. If these sectors will be able to return to work then, it should follow that the government should maintain the current rates of PUP in the time period until then. Slashing the PUP for the six week period in between will only cause unnecessary financial hardship and do nothing to help workers return to work.
“The cabinet is meeting later today and so I am urging Minister Humphreys to raise this issue at the cabinet meeting and announce the cuts have been delayed.
“Workers in sectors which remain closed have been badly let down by this government, which has failed to properly engage with sectors and understand their needs. Minister Humphreys has gone into hiding in recent weeks and refused to come out publicly and explain to workers why she is insisting on ploughing ahead with these cuts despite sectors remaining closed.
“The government must do the right thing and treat workers fairly. These planned cuts to the PUP must not go ahead on 7th September. While we are continuing to emerge from the pandemic and are hopeful for the future, the pandemic is not yet over for all sectors.”