Government must extend access to PUP to give workers certainty – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has urged the government to maintain the Pandemic Unemployment Payment at its current rates and accessible to all who need it until Autumn at the earliest, following news that easing of lockdown restrictions will be delayed.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“Today’s news that many restrictions will not ease as previously planned next week will come as a hammer blow for many workers and businesses.
“These developments highlight the need to keep the Pandemic Unemployment Payment both accessible and at its current rates until Autumn at least, where it should then be reviewed to take into account the level of public health restrictions at that time.
“I and my colleagues in Sinn Féin have been warning for many months that the PUP must be extended until the Autumn at the least. We warned that it was premature for the government to announce that PUP supports would be tapered off.
“It is clear that the current situation with lockdown restrictions is very changeable due to the unpredictable and escalating situation with the Delta variant.
“Workers need certainty and they need to know that they will receive the financial supports they need while they are unable to work due to public health advice.
“The core issue is that anyone who is unable to return to work fully due to public health restrictions should not be financially penalised for doing the right thing and protecting our communities. Many workers are under huge financial pressure already and following today’s news they will be deeply anxious that they will be left in the lurch by this government.
“Many workers and businesses are concerned that the new reopening date will be pushed back again. It is alarming that so much relies on the ability to roll out a future scheme to allow fully vaccinated people to access indoor hospitality. Such a scheme has not yet been developed and I have many concerns about whether it will be ready to operate in time or if it should at all. Many in the hospitality industry share these misgivings and fear restrictions will be extended even further.
“I note that the government has announced that they will extend the end date for new PUP applications from 30th June to 7th July. This does not go anywhere near far enough when so much uncertainty exists.
“I am calling on the government to do right by workers and ensure the PUP is in place at current rates and open to new applicants until Autumn at least.”