MORE THAN 350,000 people received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) this week, a rise of just over 2,000 on last week.
€104 million was paid out for the PUP this week by the Department of Social Protection, with more than €4.3 billion in payments issued since it was introduced earlier this year.
The sector with the highest number of people in receipt of the payment is accommodation and food service activities, with over 102,000 people.
This is followed by wholesale and retail trade (57,292 people) and sectors like hairdressers and beauty salons (31,273).
There are 352,078 people in receipt of the payment in total this week.
The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the government hopes to consider easing Covid-19 restrictions from early December.
She said this would “hopefully allow some people to return to work”.
“These past few weeks have not been easy. I know people are tired and just want life to get back to some normality,” Humphreys said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters earlier today, Martin said coalition leaders will meet tonight and a full Cabinet meeting will be held tomorrow morning.
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He added that “no decisions have been made as yet” regarding the restrictions in place from 2 December onwards.
Nearly 5,000 people have closed their PUP in the past week, with two-thirds saying it was because they are returning to work.
The age group with the largest amount of people in receipt of the PUP remains to be under 25s, with almost 90,000 people in this cohort receiving the payment this week.
This is followed by people aged 25 to 34, and those aged 35 to 44.