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PUP and EWSS Covid supports discussed at Cabinet Sub Committee - but no change made

Bars, restaurants and nightclubs had only recently seen restrictions start to relax.

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Updated Mon 9:21 PM

GOVERNMENT SOURCES HAVE said they don’t expect any changes to the planned cuts to Pandemic Unemployment Payment rates, as no changes to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme were made at a Cabinet Sub-Committee meeting this evening.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said last week that there was no plan to roll back the cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), which was reduced from €250 to €203 a week.

The Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Recovery met this evening to discuss inflation and pensions; it was also understood that support measures for the hospitality sector would also be discussed, following the return last week to some pandemic restrictions.

It is understood that members of the Sub-Commitee noted the existing Covid-19 supports for businesses and employees, but no changes to existing plans for the PUP or the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) were made. 

It was announced on Budget Day that the EWSS would be extended and gradually phased out between now and April 2022. From December, a two-tier payment rate will come into effect, and run until February. This approach was not changed at tonight’s meeting.

The cuts to the PUP that came in last week prompted many voicing concerns about the impact on workers in the hospitality sector. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs had only recently seen restrictions relax.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Barbara Berman of the Berman and Wallace restaurant and catering company said that reservation cancellations had been increasing since the new measures were introduced.

Restaurants and other venues have been reporting that cancellations, for Christmas parties in particular, have increased since the new restrictions were introduced last week, putting pressure on the hospitality sector.

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Yesterday, the number of new cases in the country was at 4,181 with 668 in hospital and 125 receiving intensive care. Today, 5,634 cases were confirmed.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan also appealed to people today to help reduce the level of transmission by limiting social contact, wearing a mask, and getting tested correctly – meaning going for a PCR test when you have symptoms.  

Updated by Gráinne Ní Aodha.

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