The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has said the Government plans to publish the July stimulus package on Tuesday.

Michael McGrath said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery will meet tomorrow, and "the intention would be to publish this plan on Tuesday."

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, he said he would not put "an overall quantum on the value" of the plan of measures, but he said "it will be of a very significant scale and it will be a multi-billion euro package." 

Mr McGrath said the stimulus plan will be "very much focused on protecting the jobs that are currently in the Irish economy and protecting incomes, but also about ensuring that we can create jobs and bring people back to work in the months ahead.

"What we want to ensure is that what is announced can be operable quickly and put into effect with the minimum amount of fuss. It has to be as of a scale that makes a real difference," he added.

Mr McGrath said there are around three quarters of a million people on schemes that did not exist just over four months ago, in the form of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, which shows "the extent and the scale of the challenge."

Minister McGrath would not be drawn on newspaper reports that the two schemes may be extended into next year, but said "both of those schemes are really important" and while they are costly to the Exchequer, "there would also be a cost in not doing them."


July Stimulus: What businesses say they need to survive 


He said the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is currently underpinning around 345,000 jobs, down from a peak of around 600,000, while the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is underpinning around 400,000 jobs.

Mr McGrath said "some very good schemes were put in place by the previous government, we're going to seek to build on those, improve them where we can, and add some new ideas and new initiatives with the overall aim of supporting employment across the economy."

He said that "in addition to many of the items that have been flagged so far, is an additional capital stimulus" and the Government will be examining if there are "projects across different line departments that are shovel ready, that can get under way quickly" such as in the area of transport.

Asked about newspaper reports that the Government is considering a tax back scheme to encourage people in Ireland to holiday here, Minister McGrath said he was not going to get into the detail of the individual measures.

However, he said Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is "working right through this weekend on a number of aspects of our taxation system that are designed to support businesses, improve their cash flow, and also to support demand across the economy, particularly the areas that have been hardest hit."

He said: "It is generally acknowledged that the tourism and hospitality area has been incredibly damaged by Covid-19 in recent months."

Mr McGrath said "that will be a central plank" of the July stimulus package, with a view to supporting jobs.

Opposition in call for bolder economic strategy

Opposition parties called for a bolder economic strategy to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Solidarity-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett saying proposals in the July stimulus package lack strategic direction.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Deputy Boyd Barrett said the proposals need to be bolder, more imaginative and bigger in scale.

He said the Government needs to recruit teachers, childcare workers as well as thousands of people into the healthcare system to deal with Covid and non-covid healthcare.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the arts, music and live entertainment industry have been decimated and need supports and a real roadmap going forward.

He said that Pandemic Unemployment Payments should be maintained for these sectors and for taxi drivers who he said "are in trouble".

He said that supports for business need to be conditional on employees rights and public health has to be the priority.

Labour's Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform spokesperson Ged Nash said his party's alternative July stimulus proposal suggests €10 billion needs to be spent over the next two years to support economic recovery.

Deputy Nash said the stimulus plan brought forward needs to be big enough to counteract the economic impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

He said his party proposes attaching conditions on any taxpayer bailout, supporting young people and apprenticeships and addressing the issue of low pay. 

Deputy Nash said that he cannot see any Fianna Fáil or Green Party imprint in what is being proposed.

Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary said the July stimulus package will be focused on businesses and on giving them enough cash to sustain them and to support employment.

He said it would be the "first of three stages", followed by the National Economic Recovery Plan and Budget 2021 in October.

He said the Government had shown it was willing to make "tough calls", as it had with the decision on the reopening of pubs last week.

The minister said there were "a lot of sectors taking a particular hit", and he would hope that the stimulus package would be focused on them.

Sinn Féin's Enterprise spokesperson Louise O'Reilly said there were "very practical differences" between giving people tax breaks and vouchers.

Ms O'Reilly said that tax breaks - if introduced in the July stimulus package - would "disproportionately benefit people who have money in their back pockets".

She said that Sinn Féin has estimated that businesses will need "about €8.6 billion to get them back up and running".