'Punishing people who cannot return to work': Calls in Cork for PUP cuts to be scrapped

'Punishing people who cannot return to work': Calls in Cork for PUP cuts to be scrapped

The current weekly rates of support are to be gradually reduced over three phases by €50 increments with the first phase applying from September 7.

A Cork TD has warned that a large number of people across the county will be impacted by the upcoming cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, calling for the changes to be “scrapped”.

According to the latest figures published by the Department of Social Protection earlier this week, there are just over 149,000 people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) nationally.

More than 13k recipients in Cork

Cork was the county with the second-highest number of people receiving the payment with 13,162 people this week.

Last week, there were 13,536 recipients across the county.

According to the department, the greatest reduction this week was in the accommodation and food services sector.

Speaking on the latest figures, Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said it is “clear that the pandemic is not over” and criticised the Government’s plans to progress with cuts to the PUP from early September.

“The cuts to the PUP and the plan to transition people from the PUP to Jobseekers on September 7 must be scrapped,” he said.

“These cuts are punishing people who cannot return to work and will hit young workers hardest.

“For many workers, their PUP will be slashed by €50 per week. For others, their income will plummet even further if they are transitioned to the Jobseeker’s rate.”

The current weekly rates of support are to be gradually reduced over three phases by €50 increments with the first phase applying from September 7.

People on the €203 PUP rate will transition to standard jobseekers terms.

Two further phases of changes will take place over the following months including November and February 2022.

The Cork North Central TD said the live entertainment sector has been “badly let down”, stating that while sectors remain closed, the incomes of those employed in the sectors should be protected.

“The government’s planned cuts are a slap in the face for those who are employed in sectors that have not yet been given a date for re-opening,” Mr Gould said.

“This is about the core principle that while workers are prevented from going to work due to public health restrictions, they should continue to receive the financial supports they need.”

Mr Gould called on the government to “urgently” cancel the cuts to the PUP planned from September.

“Workers in Cork and across Ireland must not be unfairly punished by this government while their sectors remain closed.”

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