Almost 60% of businesses claiming Covid support during pandemic

A mural about Covid restrictions at Dublin’s Grand Canal Docks by the artist CHELS, © PA Wire/PA Images

Almost 60 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent, while the lowest month was September 2020 at 30.5 per cent.

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.

“Three in 10 (30.3 per cent) 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 per cent,” said statistician Colin Hanley.

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

In January 2021, 21 per cent 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 per cent, and the second highest in January 2021 at 39 per cent.

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 per cent.

“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 per cent 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 per cent of large enterprises had at least three quarters of personnel on Covid-19 income support, compared with 31.5 per cent of medium-sized businesses, and 32.3 per cent of small businesses and 30.2 per cent 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 per cent.

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


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