News & Media

Government should heed OECD advice and stop cut to €350 PUP

18 June 2020

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

Responding to the OECD’s Economic Outlook report which shows that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment should not be cut, Labour TD Ged Nash has called on the Government to stop its plans to slash the payment at the end of June.

Deputy Nash said:

“Recent international evidence from the OECD has now confirmed that pandemic unemployment payments such as our €350 Covid-19 PUP, should not be cut.

“In addition to cushioning people from poverty, they also serve as a vital economic stimulus and allow for a sufficient degree of reallocation of jobs (from old to new) in our economy.

“Yet, for the last month we have seen Fine Gael lay the ground for a cut in the Covid-19 PUP payment of €350, a cut that will impact women, young people and low-wage workers the most.

“Let’s not forget, these undervalued workers, such as our scandalously low-paid childcare professionals, provide essential services and have suffered years of underpayment, poor conditions and job insecurity.

“But now this Fine Gael-led government soon to be joined at the hip by Fianna Fail is choosing to target them and others like them who have lost their employment through no fault of their own.

“This is a choice. At the same time as seeking to cut those on €350 at a time of crisis, the new Programme for Government is committing to leaving those on €350,000 a year alone.

“This smacks as one rule for the rich and one for the poor. Whatever happened to us all being in this together and the spirit of solidarity? It’s seems like that was yet again more PR spin by some.

Labour’s employment spokesperson continued;

“The OECD’s stance further complements other Irish studies which illustrates the view that cutting the COVID-19 PUP payment is purely an ideological decision and another attack on ordinary workers.

“The €350 payment acts as a necessary economic stabiliser. Evidence shows that those on such pandemic payments spend their money on vital goods and services, which acts as a crucial stimulus for our local businesses.

“Simply put, without circulation of money in the economy, our local shops and businesses who are already struggling to keep the doors open will struggle even more.

“However, we have heard nothing from Fine Gael about raising tax on the wealthy or the top 10% of earners, even though such categories tend to hoard (i.e. not spend) additional income from tax breaks and so on.

“I have been campaigning hard on this issue along with my Labour Party colleagues for some time now and will continue to call on this government or any future government to stop this callous and unnecessary cut.”