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Finance Minister indicates Covid-19 welfare payments may be cut in coming weeks

Changes to make the Government’s welfare payments “affordable” will be made over the coming weeks, Paschal Donohoe has said

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Paschal Donohoe says the Government will ‘change those payments in a way that is affordable’ (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paschal Donohoe says the Government will ‘change those payments in a way that is affordable’ (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paschal Donohoe says the Government will ‘change those payments in a way that is affordable’ (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

The Finance Minister has indicated cuts may be made to the Government’s Covid-19 welfare payments in the weeks ahead.

Latest figures from the Department of Social Protection show a total of 598,000 people have received the 350 euro per week Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment that was introduced in March.

More than 52,000 employers have registered with the temporary wage subsidy scheme which allows them to pay their employees instead of laying them off.

Those payments are due to expire in the middle of June.

Speaking to RTE radio, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “They are going to continue in a form, but the level of those payments and how they will be made available to the economy is something that the Government will make a decision on soon.”

However, he indicated they may not remain at the current rates.

“The second reason we have to take care with the future is because of their cost,” he said. “They are costing many hundreds of millions of euros per week. 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.”

PA