Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
214. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which industry has anticipated and prepared for a full return to work in the aftermath of Covid-19; the issues presenting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30415/21]
The successful vaccination programme is now allowing for a progressive re-opening of the economy. As this continues and as we emerge from the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, Government will support people and businesses to make a full return to work. Our ambition as set out in the Economic Recovery Plan, published this week, is to exceed pre-crisis employment levels by reaching 2.5 million people in work by 2024.
Since the start of this pandemic, Government has provided unprecedented levels of support to businesses aimed at ensuring that viable businesses will survive this pandemic. The Economic Recovery Plan sets out a new package of enterprise supports and extensions for the most impacted sectors, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to taper supports off gradually and to help industries prepare for a return to work.
From the point of view of both supporting businesses and returning people to work, the future of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme is significant. The EWSS will be crucial for businesses as they re-open as it subsidises a portion of labour costs which gives businesses the opportunity to trade profitably even when operating under public health guidelines which may constrain demand. The enhanced restart payment under the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme for businesses re-opening in June and July and the extension of the commercial rates holiday and tax warehousing will also help industries to re-open.
Over the longer term, the Government is committed to creating the right environment for a jobs-led recovery by helping business become more resilient and agile and supporting people to transition to new jobs in growing sectors of the economy. This will be achieved through a combination of upskilling and reskilling with substantially accelerated training and skills opportunities and investing in areas for long-term growth and increased activation capacity through Pathways to Work 2021-2025.