Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said that the worries and struggles faced by workers and businesses availing of income supports are not on the Taoiseach’s radar.
At Leaders’ Questions today, Teachta McDonald urged Taoiseach Micheál Martin to give an assurance that the PUP and the Wage Subsidy Scheme will not be cut from the end of June, and to provide a guarantee that protections will be offered to those workers whose Short Time Work Support payment is about to run out.
She put it to the Taoiseach that supports should be maintained for as long as the public health emergency prevents workers and businesses from earning, and argued that payments should be extended until the Autumn at least.
Teachta McDonald said:
“Once again, the Taoiseach refused to provide an assurance to thousands of workers and businesses that the supports on which they depend will not be cut.
“Not only did he fail to allay their fears, but it seems their situation is not on his radar at all. He did not outline a plan for the future of the payments. There is a frightening lack of urgency to tell people what they will face come the end of June.
“Many surviving on the Short Time Work Support payment will see support run out today and the government has not stepped in. Those relying on the PUP and the Wage Subsidy Scheme are really worried about what is in store for them.
“There are thousands who do not know when they will get to work because they work in sectors that will reopen more slowly and will be affected by restrictions.
“These include arts and entertainment, restaurants and pubs that do not have outdoor areas, and aspects of the tourism sector that cater for international visitors.
“The government is leaving these workers and businesses in the lurch.
“Saying that there will be no cliff-edge is not good enough. These workers rely on income supports to pay the bills and provide for their families. Businesses rely on them to stay afloat.
“On Friday, the Taoiseach must tell these workers that their payments won’t be cut from the end of June and commit to extending supports until autumn at least.”