August 25, 2021
New figures show 149,000 workers are still on PUP – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has warned that new figures published today reveal large numbers of people are still receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and will see their incomes plummet due to upcoming cuts planned by the government.

New figures published today by the Department of Social Protection reveal that 149,000 people are still receiving the PUP, which Minister Heather Humphreys plans to cut on 7th September.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“It is clear that the pandemic is not over. New figures published today have revealed that 149,000 people are still receiving the PUP as many workers are still unable to return to work as their sectors remain closed under public health restrictions. Despite this, the government is insisting on ploughing ahead with planned cuts to the PUP on 7th September. 

“The cuts to the PUP and the plan to transition people from the PUP to Jobseekers on the 7th September must be scrapped. These cuts are punishing people who cannot return to work and will hit young workers hardest. 

“For many workers, their PUP will be slashed by €50 per week. For others, their income will plummet even further if they are transitioned to the Jobseeker’s rate. 

“This will particularly affect workers aged 18-24, as the maximum Jobseekers they can receive is capped at €112.70 per week. As Jobseeker’s Allowance is means tested based on entire household income, young people living at home will receive even less. 

“The government’s planned cuts are a slap in the face for those who are employed in sectors that have not yet been given a date for re-opening. This is about the core principle that while workers are prevented from going to work due to public health restrictions, they should continue to receive the financial supports they need.

“Today’s figures show 28,525 people are currently on €203 rate are set to be transitioned to Jobseeker’s on 7th September. The data confirms that young people are the largest cohort on the PUP who stand to be particularly affected by this move to Jobseekers’, which more than 7,000 young workers set to see their financial supports plummet in this way. The government must not abandon young workers with these unfair cuts.

“There needs to be consistency of approach to live entertainment, music, sport and other activities. There is a real sense of unfairness and a feeling that there are different rules for different sectors and that this government’s decisions are not based on public health advice.  

“We need fairness. The rules should be fair for everyone and they need to be informed by public health advice while working for a safe re-opening of all sectors.   

“This government has badly let down the live entertainment sector, by failing to engage with the industry and be upfront about the sector’s future. While sectors remain closed, the incomes of those who worked in those sectors must be protected.

“Minister Humphreys continues to be silent on this issue and is refusing to be upfront with workers about why she is insisting on continuing with these ill-timed cuts. She owes it to the thousands of workers affected to be upfront about what she is doing and why.

“I am again demanding that Minister Heather Humphreys urgently cancel the cuts to the PUP that she is planning to implement from 7th September.”   

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