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Leon Farrell

Level 3 restrictions on Dublin prompts surge in applications for Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The impact of the Level 3 restrictions is now being reflected in the PUP figures.

THE NUMBER OF people claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has risen by 19,000 people since Dublin moved to Level 3 restrictions.

Latest figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection show that over 217,000 people received the payment this week – an increase of 10,801 on the previous week’s figure of 206,341.

In addition, some 8,690 people have closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in the past seven days bringing the total number of new payees to over 19,000. 

A statement from the DEASP this evening confirmed that a significant portion of the increase can be attributed to the further restrictions imposed on Dublin, while noting that the impact of additional restrictions in Donegal will likely be felt in next week’s figures. 

“Over 19,000 people have applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in the past seven days, partly reflecting, though not entirely, the effect of some areas having to be moved to Level 3 of restrictions,” it said.  

“The greatest increase is in Dublin, with the number of PUP payments rising to 85,892, up 10,000 from last week.  Further increases are expected where a region has moved to Level 3 or higher. 

“The increase in this week’s figures does not reflect the impact of Donegal moving to Level 3 last Friday. It is expected that any such impact will be reflected in next week’s PUP figures.”

The sector with the highest number of people receiving a PUP payment this week is Accommodation and Food Service activities, up by almost 7,000 from last week.  Education and Public Administration and Defence are the only sectors with a slight fall in PUP payments this week.

The Government has come under fire in recent days for reducing the amount paid to those claiming the PUP.

The €350-a-week payments have dropped to between €200 and €300. 

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said cutting the rates would inflict undue hardship on families around the country. 

“What they’re doing is unfair, because what they’re doing will undoubtedly cause not just hardship, but what MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) has described as a forthcoming tsunami of domestic debt.

“That’s not a smart thing to do socially or economically so Paschal [Donohoe] will have to change his position because it’s the wrong position.”

In a statement this evening, however, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphries said the Government was ensuring there was a “safety net” by continuing to offer the PUP despite it now offering a lower rate to recipients. 

“The Government wanted to ensure that this safety net remained in place in the event that counties would face further restrictions,” she said. 

 “That’s why a decision was taken to extend PUP into next year and, more importantly, keep it open to new entrants.”

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