Government must not pull drawbridge up on those who have lost work

01 June 2021
  • Early €50 cut to PUP a cliff edge drop in anyone’s language
  • New wage support scheme should replace EWSS to give firms a shot at viability
  • Minister must clarify ‘aggressive tax strategy’ reform pledge to allow draw down of €950million
  • New deal needed for young people

Ged Nash, Labour’s Finance & Public Expenditure spokesperson has said the government should not pull the drawbridge up on those who are unlikely to return to normal work patterns for some time.

Speaking in response to the launch of the National Economic Recovery Plan he said:

“This plan represented the opportunity to do some big thinking on the concept of a new social contract. It has failed the test.

“The truth is there is little new in this plan, the publication of which has been delayed on two occasions. Much of what we see in it is a rehash of existing plans tied up with a new bow.

“To be told that a €50 drop in your income from September is not a cliff edge fall is an insult to people in sectors like the aviation, arts and entertainment sectors who are unlikely to go back to a normal working life any time soon and who have bills and fixed costs to meet.

“Government needs to rethink the early unwinding of these crucial supports and commit to inflation proofing welfare rates to protect the purchasing power of those on fixed incomes as prices for the basics will rise when the economy recovers.

“For young people there was nothing new in this plan. What was needed were big ideas and investment in a new deal for a new generation. Being poor and out of work when young stays with you all your life. This generation of educated and ambitious Irish young cannot be left behind.

“We have consistently made the case to reform the EWSS and convert it into a German style short time work scheme to help give all firms a fare shot at viability through the choppy economic waters ahead. Such a scheme would come with conditions around training and upskilling when not working and a no lay-off pledge.

“Instead it looks like the successful scheme will be scrapped in a matter of months and before we have any sense of what the economy is likely to look like next year and the year after.

“Commitments around an easy to administer examinership-lite programme to be made law before the summer are understandable but it is unforgivable that no corresponding pledge exists to better protect workers who are likely to be caught up in insolvencies.

“Similarly the pledge to further extend the temporary redundancy claim extension to the end of September and questions over the ability of a worker to use the time spent on the PUP for the purpose of calculating redundancy entitlements are unfair.”

Deputy Nash continued;

“In return for the drawdown of €950million from the EU, it is there in black and white in the plan that Ireland gave way on the question of ‘aggressive tax planning’. The Minister for Finance needs to explain what concessions he made to the European Commission and how this will impact on the exchequer’s bottom line and on budget forecasts.

“Has this concession been offered over and above the ongoing OECD led global corporation tax reform process? Minister Donohoe must publish a detailed explanation of what this latest development means for Ireland.

“With our corporation tax base vulnerable on a number of fronts, this plan would have been expected to say something new on how our national industrial strategy needs to pivot away from its risky reliance on a small number of FDI heavy-hitters for good jobs and tax receipts.

“Plans to help a few more SMEs to export are underwhelming. While it would be churlish not to welcome additional investment in the green tech sectors, digitalisation and research, development and innovation we need a much more ambitious plan to scale up our medium sized enterprises to help them employ more people across the regions and to go global from Ireland.”

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