Three Measures needed to support Dubliners in lockdown

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
20 September 2020
  • €350 PUP payment must be restored.
  • Ban on evictions and rent increases must be implemented now.
  • Banks must extend repayment breaks for the duration of Level 3.

The lack of support from the government for the people of Dublin must be addressed, said Labour Business spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin as he outlined a series of measures that the Labour Party is calling for. Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“There are reports that up to 50,000 people could lose their jobs in Dublin as additional measures to tackle the growing increase in Covid cases are implemented. This is serious, it is spreading in the community, and we need to support people that need help.

“The Labour Party is calling for significant support for people and businesses. So far, we’ve had the usual business package but nothing for ordinary people. We’ve identified three essential measures that must happen this week:

1. Restore the Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The government cut the rate of the pandemic unemployment payment on Thursday and it’s our view that needs to go back to €350 straight away. The Minister for Social Protection must support incomes.

2. Ban on Evictions and Rent Increases: hospitality workers are more likely to be renting, and the Housing Minister needs to put back in place the ban on evictions. I moved an amendment in July, supported by some Greens, that would have given the Minister for Housing the power to act now. We specifically pointed out there could be a second wave and need to protect people in their homes. Minister O’Brien needs to act and bring in emergency legislation this week.

3. Bank Repayment Break extended: My colleague Ged Nash has called on the banks to extend the moratorium on banking repayments that expires at the end of this month. The banks should also drop the Covid penalty of interest and charges that accumulate during the payment break. This is a critical support for families and business owners.

“There are also a number of other measures that must be implemented. The government should look again at the level of support under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme that were there at the beginning of the pandemic for businesses in Dublin that may have to shut down now.

“The application period for the restart grant, and rates waiver must be extended. The four Dublin local authorities must be adequately compensated and funded to put in extra space for restaurants and pubs. We do have a chance to reshape our city and urban villages.

“There is also an urgent need to ensure payments and supports are issued as quickly as possible to protect supply chains, and support cashflow.

“However there is no point just throwing money at businesses if people, their customers, aren’t supported too, and we need a comprehensive package from the government covering renters and social protection payments.”

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