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Matthews welcomes significant reduction in people claiming PUP in Wicklow

Date: 25 November 2021

Deputy Matthews was speaking following an exchange with Minister for Social Protection – Heather Humphreys in the Dáil regarding the level of PUP claims in Wicklow and the recent drop off as more people returned to work. Discussing the issue, Deputy Matthews said:

“The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was an extraordinary measure brought in by Government and one of the most significant votes I have been part of in my short time as a TD. The figures I received from the Minister demonstrate the extraordinary demand at the peak of the pandemic in Wicklow with 25,730 people claiming at least one payment across the county.

“While at a personal level, it is hugely challenging and upsetting to lose your job, even on a temporary basis brought about by the pandemic, it shows how vital that this intervention was to protect families, couples, and individuals from a wide variety of sectors impacted directly by the pandemic.

“I fully accept that we are re-entering uncertain times given the levels of Covid-19 in the community, but the data from the Department of Social protection clearly shows how much stronger a position we are in than at the worst of the pandemic which has to be welcomed. As of this week – 16,567 people in Wicklow had returned to work, coming off the PUP payment.

Of those former PUP recipients in Co. Wicklow, we know retuned to work:

• 61% of people are currently working for their former pre-pandemic employer.

• 13% of people have moved to work with a different employer but have remained in their same broad pre-pandemic sector of employment.

• 26% of people have moved to work with a different employer in a different sector than that in which they worked immediately prior to claiming PUP.

“The above statistics are in line with the national average, but it must be noted that while this improvement in the job market in Wicklow is very welcome – it’s clear that we need to redouble our efforts to support people still in receipt of the PUP payment but also for those who have subsequently transitioned to another form of social welfare payment.

“In most of these cases, these people used to be employed in industries that have not fully reopened such as the music and live entertainment sector. We must continue to work with these sectors to ensure that as much support is offered as possible. The broader trends in the employment market in Wicklow are positive but I will continue to work with both my Government Colleagues, Wicklow County Council, and local employment services to ensure that supports are provided to anyone who needs them in the run up to Christmas and the new year, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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