Wednesday, 2 June 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions
I will make three points. First, yesterday we got the national recovery and resilience plan. The Government will have to reconsider what it is doing in relation to PUP, particularly for those in the arts and entertainment industry and a number of others sectors which will not survive if the Government continues with this cut. I think the Taoiseach knows that. It is also an opportunity to reform the employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS, and make it more substantial. Transforming EWSS into a short-term work scheme would ensure we have a support system in place for future downturns. Yesterday was not the first time we have heard about plans to link unemployment payments to past work PAYE and PRSI contributions. This is a standard model in many EU countries. However, will there be PRSI increases or changes in the budget to fund this? It is a valid question.
Second, the general scheme of the local property tax was published today. There is not one mention of the equalisation fund. What is the Government's stance on that fund? There are 20 local authorities depending on €133 million. I presume it is staying and it is standard. Are there any changes the Taoiseach needs to notify us of?
My final point is slightly off-topic but concerns reform. I understand it is to be announced that the leaving certificate results will come out on 3 September. That gives colleges and students no time. Some colleges are back a couple of days later. Is it accurate that the leaving certificate results will be out on 3 September? How are colleges and universities meant to deal with Covid issues and this issue as regards orientation and students getting accommodation if the results only come out then?