Isle of Man Covid-19 benefit payments halved – BBC News

Benefits paid under the Isle of Man government’s coronavirus welfare scheme have been halved with immediate effect.

Recipients of the Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance (MERA) will now receive £100 a week rather than £200.

But the maximum amount you can earn each week before losing eligibility to the scheme has risen from £50 to £150.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said the MERA had always been “intended to provide temporary respite” from financial hardship caused by Covid-19.

In his budget speech to Tynwald last month, he said that while the scheme had been “effective”, it was now important for people to “return to work as soon as they can”.

The MERA paid out a total of £4.9m to applicants up to 13 July.

Sally Fenton, of recruitment agency Search & Select, said the benefit had been “a cushion” for some and the changes would mean an “influx” of people looking for further employment.

The MERA was introduced at the end of March as part of a £100m package of measures to aid individuals and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially due to close after 12 weeks, it was extended for a further three months and is now set to finish on 20 September.

Unemployment on the island hit its highest in more than 20 years in April, with 1,347 people registered as out of work.

While it has fallen since coronavirus restrictions were lifted, the latest figures show it is still more than 1,100.

No new applications are being accepted for the MERA and anyone made unemployed after 1 August will receive Jobseeker’s Allowance.

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