Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Finance
60. To ask the Minister for Finance the status of specific economic interventions that might be needed in the economy if and when Covid-19 is brought under control; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17639/21]
We are in a period of unprecedented uncertainty. Our current focus is on maintaining existing supports and ensuring that they continue to support those most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Government has introduced a number of schemes to support individuals and businesses who have been impacted by the pandemic. Of the three primary schemes, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has paid out nearly €7 billion to individuals who have lost their jobs, the two Wage Subsidy Schemes have provided support of over €5 billion to impacted businesses, and the most recent measure, the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, has paid over €400 million in direct support to firms that have had to close due to public health restrictions.
The public finances can absorb this shock. Letting debt rise on a one-off basis in order to provide support to the economy is the appropriate budgetary response. When the public health situation allows, it is my expectation that economic growth will play the most significant role in boosting taxes and restoring the public finances to a sustainable setting.
Once the pandemic has passed and the temporary measures unwound, we will have a better understanding of the economic and fiscal situation and whether any further more targeted interventions might be needed.