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Number of PUP recipients falls below 400,000 for the first time this year

Over 12,000 people have closed their claim in the last week because they have returned to work.

Image: Shutterstock/Zerbor

THE NUMBER OF people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) this week is lower than 400,000 for the first time this year.

385,211 people are set to receive the payment today, a decrease of 18,000 since last week, amounting to €114.1 million.

Nearly one-third – 125,105 – are based in Dublin, while 37,980 are in Cork and 20,987 in Galway.

Over the last week, 12,692 people have closed a claim because they have returned to work, including 3,776 workers in Dublin, 1,233 in Cork, and 684 in Kildare.

The construction sector saw the largest drop in the number of workers receiving the payment, with a fall of 4,896.

Among those receiving the payment this week, the accommodation and food service sector has the highest number of claimants – 99,140 -, followed by wholesale and retail trade with 63,361 and constructions with 37,437.

96,202 are under the age of 25, the age category with the highest number of recipients. 84,590 are aged 25 to 34; 85,188 are 35 to 44; 67,130 are 45 to 54; and 52,101 are 55 and over.

Men account for 201,295 of the claimants, while 183,916 women are receiving the payment this week.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has said the current PUP rates will continue until 30 June and then be gradually phased out.

Humphreys said that the falling number of recipients is a “very positive development and reflects the start of the recovery phase from this pandemic”.

“As restrictions are eased further over the coming weeks, tens of thousands more people will be in a position to close their PUP claims as their industries re-open and they return to work,” Humphreys said.

“For people who are not yet in a position to return to work, the PUP will continue to be paid at its current rates and will remain open to new entrants until 30 June,” she said.

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The minister said that the future of the payment after June, “taking account of the trajectory of the virus, progress on the vaccine roll out and the continued impact of the pandemic on the economy over the months ahead”, will be set out at the end of May.

“The Government recognises that some sectors will be slower to reopen than others,” Humphreys said.

“For that reason, there will be no cliff-edge come the end of June. Supports will not be suddenly withdrawn but will be phased out in a gradual way in line with the reopening of the economy,” she said.

From May 10, hairdressers, barbers, and salons are allowed to reopen by appointment, as well as cultural venues and click and collect shopping.

None-essential retail can resume fully on 17 May and outdoor dining is allowed from 7 June under the plain laid out by the government last week.

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