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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

Paschal Donohoe: Wage subsidy scheme 'won't come to abrupt end'

The Finance Minister noted the ‘particular’ value of the scheme to government.

The Minister for Finance speaking in Government Buildings.
The Minister for Finance speaking in Government Buildings.

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has said that the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme “will not come to an abrupt end”. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Donohoe also said that changes will be made to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) in the coming months but he refused to say whether it would continue until the end of the year. 

The Department of Social Protection said on Monday that 439,000 people availed of the PUP this week, 26,900 fewer than last week. There are also 63,500 employers registered for the wage subsidy scheme. 

Donohoe said that the wage subsidy scheme is “responsible for keeping over 400,000 people in a job” and that the government is “looking options in relation to the future of it”. 

“What I can confirm now is that it will not come to an abrupt end, because were that to happen that itself creates the risk of jobs being lost,” he said. 

In relation to the pandemic unemployment payment, the last government outlined that across the month of August we would begin to make changes to that payment, as our economy reopens. We’ve in fact made one such payment this week in relation to those who would have been on part time work in the past.

Asked would it be extended to the end of the end of the year, the Minister for Finance said: “This is a decision that needs to be taken by government, as I said, I and the last government brought in these payments, the value of them, and the value of the wage subsidy scheme in particular is recognised very strongly by the government. I’ll be working with the Tánaise, with Leo, and with my new colleague Michael McGrath to come up with the right plan now for those schemes.”

Donohoe also said that no decision had been taken on the potential to reduce VAT for the hospitality sector. 

Donohoe was also asked about his decision to seek the position of president of the Eurogroup. The Eurogroup is comprised of all of the Eurozone’s finance ministers and if Donohoe were elected he would be the head of the group for a 2.5-year term. 

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“Ireland has never had this role, and as a small country that is now in its 50th anniversary of beginning negotiations to join the European Union. I believe we could bring qualities to that group that would benefit the future of the euro and our economy,” he said.

Donohoe said that he is “busy” but noted that his department has been split in two with Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath being made Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.  

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Rónán Duffy

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