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About one million people in Ireland live on government benefits

DUBLIN: One year after the beginning of the COVID period, about a million people are living on government welfare benefits. Government figures show that about 965,000 people have been living with some form of government assistance since the COVID-19 crisis began. The vast majority of them have lost their jobs or lost their livelihoods as part of the lockdown.

According to the Department of Social Protection, 4,65,000 people are expected to receive a Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) by the end of this week. The number is down 4,000 from last week. In the first lockdown last year, the government benefited 1.2 million people.

Most PUP buyers are in accommodation and food service sectors

The highest number of PUP buyers is in the accommodation and food service sectors, with 109,150 people receiving assistance in these sectors. The scheme covers 74,150 workers in the wholesale and retail sector and 58,860 construction workers. Statistics show that there have been only minor declines across these groups over the past week.

The 35-44 age group accounts for the largest share of people on the PUP, at 106,180. The 62,460 people who buy PUP are over 55 years old.

The government hopes that the restrictions could be lifted through the timely distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, several economists predict that it may take until the start of 2024 before unemployment falls back to its pre-crisis level of about 5%.

The number of people requiring the PUP in Cork this week was down 500 from the previous week. Some 47,010 people received PUP this week. Around 146,500 people in Dublin requires the PUP.

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