Local Longford town cafe owner (Coffee House 45) Andrew Reynolds has this week highlighted the difficulties faced by business owners in the town and county who he says are "struggling to find workers in the wake of the pandemic" since the introduction of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment which often sees employees taking home more money than they were earning prior to Covid-19 during the lockdown.
Speaking to the Longford Leader Mr Reynolds said, “This leaves me and others like me in a very difficult and stressful position financially as I have a certain budget when it come to employing staff and if the government are going to make it more attractive for my former employees to stay at home rather than come back and take up their existing positions, then that's a very sad position for my company and similar companies across the county and further afield to be in.”
Last week it was announced that those in receipt of the PUP payment are to see a change in their rates to a tiered system of either €300, €250 or €203 euro depending on what they were earning prior to the start of the pandemic.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has indicated that the scheme be extended to April of next year – however, Mr Reynolds says that the current situation is “dire” and “does not make good economic sense in today's climate”.
"It is a well known fact that many of those currently in receipt of the PUP are still taking home more than they earned in their original job prior to the pandemic and if this is the case, there is simply no incentive to get out of bed at the moment - and if people are not even willing to do that then there is little hope of this country of ours ever getting back on its feet in these turbulent times,” he concluded.