Stimulus fails to put money in pockets with no increase in Social Welfare rates

Seán Sherlock TD
23 July 2020

Labour social protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock said the government could have put money in people’s pockets by increasing social welfare rates that would directly support local shops and businesses, while the cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are short-sighted and will hit those who lost their jobs because of the pandemic hardest.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“The stimulus fails to put money directly into the economy. The government could have increased spending power by increasing social welfare rates by €10 a week as Labour had proposed. Instead they are planning to cut the pandemic unemployment payment even further from September. Weekly social welfare payments have fallen behind the cost of living and now is the time to close that gap. There was no increase in last year’s budget and targeting the funds in this way ensures it would have been spent in the local economy.

“We need people to spend locally to support businesses that are on the edge due to COVID-19, and we know that those who rely on social welfare payments are most likely to spend their money on essential goods and services locally. While we welcome the move to reduce VAT there is no guarantee it will be passed on, while the staycation refund will benefit those who can afford to go on a holiday in the winter.

“The increase in training places is welcome, as Labour had argued for now is the time to invest in lifelong learning reskilling and state training. However there will be significant work required to ensure places and incentives are targeted to where they are most needed.”

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