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Wage subsidy scheme will be 'amended and extended' by Government

The Cabinet sub-committee on economic recovery will discuss plans to extend the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme this morning.

They will also discuss the July stimulus package, which will include about €1 billion of measures for small businesses.

Nearly 400,000 employees' wages are currently being topped up by the wage subsidy scheme, which is due to end in late August. Over 65,000 employers have registered with Revenue for the scheme.

Minister of State for Trade Promotion Robert Troy said the scheme will be enhanced and extended, as the Covid-19 crisis isn't over yet.

"This wage subsidy needs to be amended. We need to ensure that people who are seasonal employees can avail of it, and we need to ensure that as businesses improve [and] as turnover improves, that the wage subsidy is tapered off," he said.

"We can't have a situation whereby businesses are just left hanging and falling off a cliff."

Speaking last week, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the wage subsidy scheme will not end abruptly and hinted that it could last until the end of the year.

Mr Donohoe said that he would be looking at all options, but that the scheme would not come to an abrupt end as that could lead to jobs being lost.

Yesterday the Oireachtas special committee on the Covid-19 response heard that Ireland's unemployment rate is set to decline from its second-quarter peak of about 25% and is projected to be around half that level by the end of this year.

The latest figures from the Department of Social Protection show about 413,000 people are now receiving the pandemic unemployment payment, down from 439,000 last week.