THE curtailment of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has been heavily criticised by Solidarity TD Mick Barry, who said a wealth tax should be introduced to foot the growing Covid-19 debt that is arising from the economic slowdown.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr Barry said: “The payment is to be cut to €300 a week for those who earned more than €300 per week before the pandemic and to €250 per week for those who previously earned between €200 and €300 per week.”
The Government also extended the payment application date until the end of the year, allowing people to apply for financial assistance if they lose their job, until the end of 2020.
Mr Barry made the point that there are 210,000 people receiving some form of Pandemic Unemployment Payment, also known as the Covid payment, and said he would be raising the issue in the Dáil.
The Solidarity TD said that cutting the Covid payment will have detrimental effects on society by placing additional pressure on people’s mental health as they struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table.
“The Government are cutting payments here for workers who simply cannot return to work because of the pandemic. And it’s not a small cut either. Some people are having their payments cut by €50 a week, others are having their payments cut by €100 per week.
“With the virus on the rise again this is a vicious cutback for many households and will put real pressure on people trying to pay the rent or put food on the table.
“Fianna Fáil’s support levels are going to continue to tank if the Government keep on with policies of this kind”.
Discussing alternative cost-saving measures that could potentially allow the Covid payment to remain untouched, Mr Barry said: “The bill should be placed on the door of those who can afford it.”
Mr Barry said the Government could borrow from the International Market at an interest rate of less than 1% as a short term measure and then recoup the money by “vigorously pursuing” a wealth tax