Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020: Motion
I join with my colleagues in welcoming the extension of the employment wage subsidy scheme at the existing rates. I note that a similar announcement has been made on the pandemic unemployment payment, which is welcome. In the case of the PUP, the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, has said that in the coming weeks the Government will be looking at a possible extension beyond 31 March. It is now February, so I ask that the Minister would do likewise for the EWSS. It is important that workers and families have a bit of certainty as they go through the month of February and into March. It is especially important given the Government's inaction today in terms of helping those very people with growing bills which is a major concern, but it is not something on which the Government is going to take action.
As is the case with the PUP, the upper limit is €350 for all those earning in excess of €400 and all those workers are on reduced income. A big issue arises in that, regrettably, mortgage breaks have not been announced. I ask the Minister to examine the matter again. The banks should be doing their bit in the middle of the pandemic.