THE number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in Clare dipped by just over 250 over the last week.
According to figures from the Department of Social Protection there were 4,278 receiving the payment on Tuesday of this week, down from 4,529 seven days earlier. At one point in 2020 there were almost 15,000 people receiving the payment in Clare.
While international travel may have been suspended, there are still many visitors taking ‘staycations’ in Clare, bringing money into Ennis and coastal areas of the county.
The numbers receiving the PUP have been falling for some time and it has been closed to new entrants for the last three weeks.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said that numbers receiving the payment across the State have fallen and are continuing to fall as the economy reopens.
“For the first time since its introduction, the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen below the 200,000 mark.
“It also means that the number of PUP recipients is now at its lowest level since the payment was introduced as an emergency measure in March 2020.
“To put this into context, there were over 481,000 people relying on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in early February of this year – the last time the virus reached a peak. That number has now fallen by around 60% – clearly demonstrating the progress we are making in re-opening our economy and getting our citizens back to work.”
This week has seen the resumption of indoor dining and pubs are also allowed to serve people indoors once again, and Minister Humphreys said this will lead to more employment being restored.
“As indoor hospitality re-opens safely, I expect the number of people receiving PUP to fall further in the coming weeks as they return to the workplace.
“I want to take this opportunity to pay particular tribute to businesses in the hospitality sector, who are re-opening their doors for indoor dining.
“This has been an extremely difficult few months for this sector. That’s why Government has maintained the range of supports in place for businesses and their employees.”
With Covid having left many people in very changed circumstances, she said that there are supports for people who have lost their jobs permanently.
“Our Pathways to Work Strategy is now being rolled out at pace – providing supports to enable people to get back working again.
“As new jobs are created, we want to ensure that people who are currently unemployed have the training, skills and most importantly the confidence to take on these new roles.
“My Department’s Intreo Centres will play a crucial role in ensuring the rollout of this service.”