26 August 2021
By Tom Collins
Sinn Féin TD for Cork East Pat Buckley has warned that new figures published yesterday reveal large numbers of people in Cork are still receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and will see their incomes plummet due to upcoming cuts planned by the government.
New figures published yesterday by the Department of Social Protection reveal that 13,162 people in Cork are still receiving the PUP, which the government plans to cut on 7th September.
Speaking today, Teachta Pat Buckley said:
“It is clear that the pandemic is not over. New figures published yesterday have revealed that 13,162 people in Cork 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.
“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. Workers in this industry must not be punished because their sectors remain closed.
“Minister Humphreys and Minister Varadkar continue to be silent on this issue and are refusing to be upfront with workers about why they are insisting on continuing with these ill-timed cuts. They owe it to the many workers here in Cork affected to be upfront about what they are doing and why.
“I am again demanding that the government urgently cancel the cuts to the PUP that they are planning to implement from 7th September. Workers in Cork and across Ireland must not be unfairly punished by this government while their sectors remain closed.
“Sinn Féin is committed to standing up for workers and ensuring they are treated fairly.”