News & Media

Ivory tower thinking from government on PUP cuts

1 June 2021

Statement by Senator Marie Sherlock
Seanad Whip and Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Media, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
  • Government has no answer for how families will pay their bills with lower payment while workers forced to wait for sector to recover.

Responding to the expected government announcement on the planned cuts to the PUP, Labour Employment Affairs spokesperson Senator Marie Sherlock said this bore all the hallmarks of a technocratic Government disconnected from the reality of workers and their families clinging on throughout this pandemic.

Senator Sherlock said:

“This morning we heard Government reassuringly talk about the projected 4% economic growth rate this year and a back to normal with the full re-opening of the economy. This blatantly ignores the reality for thousands who make their livelihoods from the retail or aviation or hospitality or leisure or arts sector. We know there are structural permanent changes taking place in the retail sector, the aviation sector will take years to recover if at all while many in the arts sector will have missed the traditional summer boom period and will be facing into a second very bleak winter.

“This move will hit young workers in particular because we know that the re-opening of the economy does not necessarily mean they will get their jobs back. 

“Last December, even with the shops and hospitality fully open, the unemployment rate among the 15-24 years old who are in the labour force was a whopping 53% or just over 97,000 workers. 45% of all 15 and 24 year olds who work either part or full time are employed in the retail or hospitality sector with 20% of all 25-34 year olds according to the CSO’s Labour force survey data. 

“The national economic plan to be published later today will be designed to dazzle but in truth it will depend on trickle down economics hoping that it will get to the affected workers at some stage. For those who have had to enter into mortgage restructuring, or who are barely able to pay their rent let alone the prospective increases or who need to work to pay their way through college, this package will not give them the bridging loans they’ll need between the cut to the pup and when they may be able to work again.

“Ultimately, we have spent so much of the past 12 months saying we must use the pandemic as an opportunity to imagine a better Ireland with even the Government announcing their commission on tax and social welfare. However, today’s announcement on the PUP just shows the ivory tower many in Government exist in.”