Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has expressed concern that cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will push thousands of people to the financial brink.
From today, the rate of PUP will be cut for recipients by between €50 and €100 per week depending on their circumstances.
Teachta Kerrane said: “We know that 156,094 people who received €350 in PUP this week will all see a reduction of between €50 and €100 from next week.
“In response to a parliamentary question I submitted to Minister Humphreys, it was revealed that the average weekly earnings for those who will now receive €300 per week stood at €568 per week prior to the pandemic.
“This signals a major fall in weekly income for these workers and their families, many of whom will struggle with rent and mortgages as a result. I am deeply concerned that they will see their bills continue to build up with no means of covering them.
“We must be clear that people are unemployed through absolutely no fault of their own and many faced sudden redundancy due to the pandemic. The economy continues to be in total crisis and it simply isn’t possible for many people to secure new jobs.
“People deserve to receive appropriate levels of financial support. Sinn Féin have been calling for the €350 per week PUP to remain in place at least until the end of this year.
“I am aware that there are particular issues being raised by workers in certain sectors, including the Arts where workers risk losing their PUP if they accept a one-off gig or event.
“This clearly isn’t fair or feasible. We need to see flexibility for PUP recipients as they try to get back on their feet. The Government needs to address this urgently to ensure that people aren’t being penalised, particularly in sectors that are extremely vulnerable such as the Arts sector.”