Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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26. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the estimated loss of employment in the productive sectors of the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic; the steps he plans taking to stimulate employment in the productive sectors of the economy post-Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29214/21]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) was introduced as an emergency response to support workers who lost their jobs as a result of business closures due to Covid-19.

On 25 May 2021, there were 333,993 people in receipt of the PUP, with steady declines recorded throughout the months of March, April and May. This compares to 598,000 workers that were in receipt of PUP on 5 May last year.

The gradual easing of restrictions has already seen the number of people in receipt of the PUP decrease across the worst affected sectors and the economy as a whole in 2021.

PUP recipients in the Construction sector have decreased by more than half, falling from 62,902 in February to 28,758 in May. Over the month of May, PUP recipients in the Wholesale and Retail Sector fell from 65,984 to 54,391 as outlets reopened. The sector including hairdressing and beauty salons has also seen PUP claimants fall from 33,609 on the 27 April to 20,031 on 25h May as outlets re-opened.

The Government will continue to provide help and guidance for businesses through the recovery phase and beyond, which in turn will help support employment in the economy.

These include the €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme, ISIF Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund, Sustaining Enterprise Fund, Trading Online Vouchers and Online Retail Scheme, Climate Enterprise Action Fund and Financial planning and other grant schemes.

My Department has also recently amended the Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid (SBASC), which was introduced to help businesses not eligible for CRSS, the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme or other direct sectoral grant schemes, to provide grant aid to assist with fixed costs.

There are also steps being taken to ensure the skills required by our economy are in place for the future and a range of initiatives for reskilling and upskilling to help businesses and employees.

For example, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science has created two new skills programmes to assist the hospitality and tourism sectors with COVID-19 challenges and ensure they are ready for the re-opening of the sectors this summer. These programmes focus on skills to develop team leaders and supervisory management capability.

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