It would be “criminal” to begin reducing pandemic support payments before the jobs that were lost through the pandemic are recovered.
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith is calling for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) to be extended – and funded by a coronavirus solidarity tax on companies that increased their wealth due to the virus.
It comes amid reports the €350 payment will begin to reduce from June and will gradually drop back towards the €202 Jobseeker’s Allowance rate.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Deputy Smith warned that it could take time for jobs lost during the pandemic to return.
“If jobs begin to reappear in hospitality and jobs begin to reappear in arts and music, it is going to take some time for all that to resume,” she said.
“So, talking at this stage about cutting back the PUP is inappropriate and will meet huge opposition.”
She noted the pandemic has generated huge amounts of wealth in some sectors just as it increased poverty in others.
COVID solidarity Tax
She said the “cure” for that inequality should from, “those who can most afford to pay for it.”
“The lower paid were hit the worst and, at the same time, there are sectors in our economy and globally that have made massive amounts of profits during the pandemic – including pharmaceuticals, high-tech and the banks,” she said.
“There has been a huge amount of profit raised and a lot of savings in certain households so I think to reduce the PUP would be criminal and I don’t think we should.”
Pandemic Unemployment Payment
She said it has been “brilliant” to hear the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and some members of Government backing calls for a COVID solidarity tax.
“There should be a COVID solidarity tax on those who enhanced their profits out of the virus and that should be used to keep people in a pandemic unemployment payment until they return to work,” she said.
“This idea that people who worked in hospitality, in arts and music or in maybe shops that won’t be open for a long time, that they are somehow lazy and that it is their own fault somehow that they are unemployed needs to be scotched and we have to give them the supports they need.”
You can listen back here: