Emergency Covid-19 support payments to be made more ‘affordable’ – Paschal Donohoe

CHANGES to make the Government’s welfare payments more affordable will be made over the coming weeks, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

A total of 598,000 people have received the government’s €350 a week Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment, latest figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection show.

Meanwhile, more than 52,000 employers have registered with the temporary wage subsidy scheme.

The support payments, which are due to expire in the middle of June, has cost the state €4bn-€4.5bn over a twelve week period.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the payments will continue but will be altered “in a way that is affordable”.

He said a pathway for both payments will be considered over the next few weeks.

“They are going to continue in a form, but the level of those payments are and how they will be made available to the economy is something that the government will make a decision on soon.

“They’re working and helping our citizens cope with a huge change in living standards that nobody was expecting,” Mr Donohoe told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“They are costing many hundreds of millions of euros per week.

“And what I and the government will aim to do is change those payments in a way that is affordable but also makes sense for our citizens,” he added.

He said changes are being made to wage subsidy scheme today to “make sure that it is more effective and in particular to support citizens who are on the wage subsidy scheme at lower levels of income.”