By James Ward, PA
A Cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday to discuss the publication of a national economic recovery plan, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.
The Minister for Enterprise has signalled that supports such as the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP), the wage subsidy scheme and the Covid restrictions support scheme (CRSS) will continue.
He said the Government’s principle will be to ensure that as many businesses as possible can survive the pandemic.
Mr Varadkar said: “My message really today is to Irish business and Irish workers, particularly saying to Irish business, that we’re on your side and the Government has your back.”
He added: “Our domestic sectors have really struggled. Retail now just reopened, construction is just getting back on its feet. Hospitality is only about to partially reopen.
“And, of course, the travel industry, the entertainment industry and personal services are all just recovering from the best part of the year, being closed.
“They have needed a lot of financial support.
“That will continue because we believe as a Government that the best chance of rapid economic recovery, the best chance of getting back to full employment, the best chance of avoiding the need for tax rises or spending cuts in the future, is to make sure that our economy bounces back, bounces back fast and roars back to life.”
EU recovery fund
Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting will hear proposals from Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath on how €900 million from the EU recovery fund will be used.
Decisions will be taken in relation to the pandemic support schemes, Mr Varadkar said.
He added: “Of course the principle that we’re going to adopt is doing all that we can to make sure as many businesses as possible survive this period ahead.
“And that as many businesses as possible can take back as many of their stuff as possible.”
He said any withdrawal of the PUP would be “gradual” and “will not start until people have had the opportunity to return to work”.
Currently around 25,000 people a week are coming off the scheme, in line with the expected trajectory, he said.
Mr Varadkar said he was conscious that some sectors, such as nightclubs and live events, will not be able to reopen in the coming months.
“I want them to know that while we understand they’d be disappointed tonight, they’re not forgotten,” he said.
“We are going to make sure that there are plans for them to open as soon as that is possible in the months ahead.”