Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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142. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost of each of the Covid-19 measures per week since they were introduced in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6088/20]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, Government has put in place a number of expenditure measures to protect incomes, support businesses and ensure that our Health Service is in a position to provide a robust public health response. In particular, as outlined in the Stability Programme Update (SPU) the significant portion of the additional voted expenditure arising from the Covid-19 measures is across the Health and Employment Affairs and Social Protection Vote Groups. Further detail on the expenditure trends for these Departments is set out below. 

In the area of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, there are a number of key measures. These include the Covid-19 Illness Benefit, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). As outlined in the SPU, the estimated cost of these measures over a 12 week period is in the range of €4 billion to €4½ billion, with the introduction of the PUP and the TWSS reducing the level of expenditure on the Sick Pay and Illness Benefit Scheme over this period. In addition, as outlined in the SPU there will also be higher expenditure on income supports over the rest of 2020, reflecting the unemployment forecasts at that time.

The expenditure figures published with the March Exchequer Returns reflected expenditure in respect of the PUP and TWSS of over €0.1 billion, with the cumulative amount included in the April expenditure figures being over €1½ billion.

It is expected that 585,000 people will receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment during the week commencing 18th May 2020, at a cost of just over €0.2 billion. The number of persons availing of the scheme and the weekly expenditure since its introduction up to 11 May are outlined in the following table:

Payment on Recipients Expenditure €m
24th March 2020 58,739 11.9
31st March 2020 283,038 99.1
7th April 2020 497,626 174.2
14th April 2020 528,343 184.9
21st April 2020 583,317 204.2
28th April 2020 590,976 206.8
5th May 2020 602,106 210.7
11 May 2020 589,638 206.5

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection publishes detailed information on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment on their website (most recent update available here:

on a regular basis. This includes details relating to the cost of the scheme, number of recipients as well as county and sector breakdown of payments. Details of payments on the Covid-19 Illness Benefit are also published.

In relation to the TWSS, since 9 April 2020 Revenue has published statistics on the operation of the TWSS on a regular basis. As outlined in the report published on 9 April, the cumulative value of payments made under the scheme at that point in time was €155 million. The Report published on 30 April outlined cumulative payments of €712 million. On 14 May, Revenue published updated and expanded statistical information in relation to the scheme. At that time the cumulative value of the payments under the scheme was €936 million. The statistics are available on the Revenue website.

The data published include the cost of the scheme to date, numbers of employers and employees in receipt of payments under the scheme and breakdowns of the employee and employer numbers by size of business, sector of activity, location and number of employees. I am advised that Revenue is continuing to undertake further analysis of TWSS and will publish updated and expanded statistics on a regular basis. These updates will be published at the link noted above.

At end-April, gross voted current expenditure on the Health Vote was €6,160 million, which is €569 million or 10.2% ahead of profile, reflecting the response to Covid-19 in this sector. At the end of March, Health current expenditure was €205 million ahead of profile, reflecting an additional draw down by the Department of Health for the HSE in relation to Covid-19.

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