THE phasing out of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is underway with the top three rates reducing by €50, meaning that a person previously receiving €350 will now get €300 per week.
Students who will be in full time education for the coming academic year have already received their final payment.
In Clare, the most recent figures show that the county had 2,636 people receiving the payment on September 7. This was a drop of over 500 on the previous week and this probably reflects the number of students no longer receiving it.
While the figure is more than 8,500 less than the equivalent in early February, it is still substantial. There were also 4,111 signing on the live register in Clare last month
The PUP has been the target of much criticism in recent weeks, with businesses particularly in hospitality struggling to recruit staff. With the departure of students from the sector, this has led to a crisis for some.
Commenting this week, Minister for Heather Humphreys said that the economy has improved and jobs are being added.
“The number of people in receipt of the PUP has now fallen by almost 500,000 since the peak in mid 2020. The economy is now substantially reopened and it is really encouraging to see businesses actively advertising for and hiring new staff.”
“Through the Government’s Pathways to Work strategy we want to support people through training, further education and reskilling opportunities to give them the tools and most importantly the confidence to get back to work.”
She claimed the PUP has been a success, but needs to be wound down now. ““The Pandemic Unemployment Payment has proven to be one of the most important supports in our country’s history.
“In fact, since the introduction of the PUP in March 2020, almost one million people have been supported under the scheme at one stage or another.
“The PUP was always a temporary emergency support and as the emergency phase of the pandemic has now passed, it is the right time to start the process of winding the payment down.
“The tapering of the PUP is happening in a gradual, phased manner between now and next February recognising the fact that some sectors of our economy are getting back to normal at a slower rate than others.”