Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
219. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which he expects employment to increase and unemployment to decrease over the next three months given the urgency of economic recovery in the aftermath of Covid-19 and taking into account the aftermath of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30420/21]
We want our economy to recover, and to restore employment as soon as possible. The Economic Recovery Plan published this week sets out the availability of supports over the coming months, which will give businesses the certainty they require in order to plan for the future and re-employ staff members. The overall ambition of the plan is to exceed pre-crisis employment levels by reaching 2.5 million people in work by 2024.
From the point of view of both supporting businesses and providing employment, the extension of the EWSS until 31 December 2021 is of most significance. 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 (CRSS) to support businesses in meeting the costs of reopening as they exit the scheme will support businesses to reopen and support people returning to work.
Extension of the CRSS to the end of the year, the new Business Resumption Scheme and phase 2 of the SBASC grant which sees the grant extended to those businesses without a rateable premises with the introduction of a smaller grant for those micro enterprises who are not eligible for SBASC, all reinforce the awareness that Government has of the needs of business and the importance of restoring employment as soon as possible.
Continued deferral of the €2.3 Billion in tax liabilities owing to the Exchequer and the fact that liabilities incurred for a short period after trading resumes can continue to be warehoused will provide additional liquidity and assurances for business that Government is doing everything it can to aid their survival and return them to profitability which will ultimately aid in restoring employment.
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.
220. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which staff remain available to return to their respective employment post-Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30421/21]
Our Economic Recovery Plan, published this week, sets an ambitious target to exceed pre-crisis employment levels by having 2.5 million people in work by 2024. The Plan commits to helping people to return to work; both to previous employment and, in recognition that not all previous jobs will return, to be prepared for new opportunities.
The EWSS has been extended to the end of the year to support businesses to retain employment as they re-open by subsiding 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 Economic Recovery Plan commits to significant investment in training, reskilling, upskilling and providing more places in apprenticeships and education to ensure people are supported to secure and remain in sustainable and quality employment. The forthcoming Pathways to Work 2021-2025, will involve intensive work with young people at greater risk of long-term unemployment, in recognition of the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on young people.
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. On 25 May 2021, there were 333,993 people in receipt of the PUP, down from 598,000 on 5 May 2020, with steady declines recorded throughout the months of March, April and May.
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 25th May as outlets re-opened.
The PUP has been extended to the autumn but will be gradually phased out from September. As we enter a recovery phase, we must target resources to re-building our economy. The Government is committed to creating the right environment for a jobs-led recovery by helping business become more resilient and agile, by increasing Ireland’s competitiveness, and through a focus on expanding sectors. The Economic Recovery Plan also commits to further strengthen Ireland’s Skills Framework and architecture to ensure the skills of young people are aligned with the needs of enterprise.