Government wrong to punish workers on PUP

The government are ‘governing in the shadows’. They changed the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) to include a job seeking condition without any public announcement.

It is truly incredulous for a government to change the rules for hundreds of thousands of people without making any effort to inform them. They by-passed debate and public scrutiny, and have gone as far as punishing people for breaking rules they didn’t know existed.

The public only learned of this when it broke in the media. The government was forced to come clean about the fact that those travelling on holidays were having their social welfare payments stopped with no warning.

Mixed messaging on foreign travel, and a reluctance to help people to get refunds for flights, meant that some people were going on holidays. They found out on their return that the lifeline of the pandemic payment had been cut.

I have no issue if the government, following medical advice, wanted to implement stricter travel restrictions. What is wrong is having mandatory travel restrictions only for one portion of the population.

It is appalling to have one rule for people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and one rule for everyone else.

I know many people in my constituency who are on the PUP through no fault of their own. Many are waiting for industries to reopen. They are eager to get back to work. For the government to put a job seeking condition on many of them is illogical when the only reason many of them are not working is because they are following public health advice.

The government needs a clear and fair approach to international travel. They are risking all of the progress in tackling Covid-19 by harming the good will and solidarity that we need to work together and to keep each other safe.