For Oral Answer on : 20/01/2022
Question Number(s): 30 Question Reference(s): 62069/21
Department: Public Expenditure and Reform
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of funding provided to date to support the economy and society in dealing with the challenges caused by Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Supporting society and the economy has been a Government priority since the onset of the pandemic. Supports were introduced swiftly in 2020, with a range of schemes introduced to support incomes, employment and key public services. Over €16½ billion in funding was made available for measures to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic during 2020, which provided for essential economic and societal supports. This provided additional funding to support our health service in responding to the impact of the pandemic; to support the operation of public transport; and support the reopening of the Education sector. These measures included income and employment support schemes such as the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), along with a range of other business supports such as liquidity supports, restart grants and the commercial rates waivers.
During 2021, as Covid-19 continued to impact, key schemes and supports were extended. In addition to the measures provided for by allocations made to Departments in the Revised Estimates for Covid-19 related measures, the funding held in reserve under Budget 2021 was allocated during the year to provide for measures such as the further extension of the PUP and EWSS schemes, additional supports for businesses and particularly impacted sectors such as live entertainment. Across the year, provision of almost €13½ billion was made for Covid-19 related measures.
For 2022, €3.1 billion in funding to address the impacts of Covid-19 has already been allocated at Departmental level in the 2022 Revised Estimates, including €0.2 billion for projects funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. A further €3.9 billion remains held in reserve, to be allocated if required during the year for targeted measures to address the continued challenges caused by the pandemic. Within this, specific amounts have been earmarked for the Education and Health sectors and for labour market impacts. The contingency funding will be used to support our economy and society over the coming year and will be allocated to specific expenditure measures that can be most effective at that particular time.