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Almost 60% of businesses claiming Covid support during pandemic

The figures published by the Central Statistics Office are part of a series examining changes in the business economy during the crisis.

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People walk past a new mural at Dublin’s Grand Canal Docks by the artist CHELS (Chelsea Jacobs), reflecting the uncertain future of children due to Covid-19 restrictions (Niall Carson/PA)

People walk past a new mural at Dublin’s Grand Canal Docks by the artist CHELS (Chelsea Jacobs), reflecting the uncertain future of children due to Covid-19 restrictions (Niall Carson/PA)

People walk past a new mural at Dublin’s Grand Canal Docks by the artist CHELS (Chelsea Jacobs), reflecting the uncertain future of children due to Covid-19 restrictions (Niall Carson/PA)

Almost 60% of Irish businesses were claiming Covid-19 income supports at the outbreak of the pandemic, figures show.

Research by the Central Statistics Office shows that it dropped to a low of 30% of businesses in September last year.

The CSO published the results of its series on Business Signs of Life: State Supports, which examines changes in the Irish business economy during the Covid-19 crisis.

The results show that in January 2021, 46.6% of enterprises had staff availing of either the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) or the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

The highest month for income supports was April last year at 57.2%, while the lowest month was September 2020 at 30.5%.

The research looked at businesses’ uptake of the State’s Covid-19 income support, which includes the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the PUP.

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“Three in 10 (30.3%) enterprises had at least three quarters of their personnel receiving either WSS or PUP in January 2021, the highest percentage since June 2020 when it was 35.8%,” said statistician Colin Hanley.

Of the 242,681 enterprises in the analysis, 6.8% had all staff in receipt of PUP continuously since April 2020.

In January 2021, 21% of businesses had all staff on the PUP.

The transportation and storage sector, which includes taxi operators, had the highest percentage of enterprises with all staff in receipt of PUP continuously since April last year at 22%, and the second highest in January 2021 at 39%.

Mr Hanley added: “The other services activities sector, which includes hairdressing and other beauty treatment enterprises, had the highest percentage of all personnel in receipt of PUP at 40.0%.

“Almost four in 10 enterprises had no personnel in receipt of Covid-19 income support.

“Three quarters in the information and communication sector had no personnel availing of WSS or PUP in January 2021 compared with 68.5% in April 2020.”

The figures show that six in 10 enterprises in the sector had no employees or self-employed people availing of Covid-19 income support at any point since March last year.

In January 2021, 14.7% of large enterprises had at least three quarters of personnel on Covid-19 income support, compared with 31.5% of medium-sized businesses, and 32.3% of small businesses and 30.2% of micro-enterprises.

Almost six in 10 hairdressing and other beauty treatment enterprises had at least three quarters of their staff on Covid-19 income support in January 2021.

This was similar to the level seen in the first lockdown in April 2020, at 59.7%.

Sports activities enterprises, which includes sports clubs, leisure centres and gyms, had 41.4% of enterprises with high levels of Covid-19 income support for people in January 2021, compared with 23.7% of retailers.


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