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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 38-52
 Header Item Illegal Israeli Imports
 Header Item Northern Ireland Issues
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Bond Markets
 Header Item General Government Debt
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item Tax and Social Welfare Codes
 Header Item Tax Rebates
 Header Item Investor Compensation Company Limited
 Header Item Economic Growth Rate
 Header Item Bond Markets
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Banking Sector Remuneration

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 38-52

Illegal Israeli Imports

 38. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he has considered introducing a new labelling system for goods from illegal Israeli settlements as products of Israeli occupied West Bank; if his attention has been drawn to other international examples following that model; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55928/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I am familiar with voluntary guidelines on labelling of settlement products issued in the UK and more recently in Denmark. As the House has been informed, information on the UK guidelines has been carried on my Department’s website for a number of years, for the guidance of importers and retailers if they wish it. My Department has recently participated in a workshop on this issue with the UK and Danish authorities, and others, and in the light of those discussions will be considering what further steps Ireland might take in this regard. The Deputy will be aware however that labelling of goods in Ireland is a matter for a number of domestic Departments, and not for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Northern Ireland Issues

 39. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the contact he has had with the Northern Executive and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in relation to the outbreak of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland over the past number of days; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55929/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I would like to take this opportunity to once again condemn the outbreaks of violence related to the issue of flying of the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall that we have witnessed in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland over the last week. Peaceful protest is perfectly legitimate but respect for the rule of law is essential. The attacks on the homes of elected representatives of the Alliance party and their families, and the death threats issued against members of that party are particularly distressing. These attacks, along with the destruction and damage caused to Alliance party offices are attacks on the democratic process itself. Assaults directed at PSNI officers such as we have witnessed are reprehensible and have no place in a civilised society.

  I spoke to David Ford on Thursday 6 December who is both Minister for Justice with devolved responsibility for policing and justice, and leader of the Alliance party. I conveyed to him the support of the Irish Government for the PSNI and solidarity with those members of his party who have had to endure assaults on themselves, their families and their property. Yesterday afternoon I discussed the ongoing efforts of the two Governments in support of political progress with the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.  Officials from my Department remain in close contact with members of the political parties, the PSNI and British officials on an ongoing basis.

  The Northern Ireland Assembly passed a motion on Monday morning with cross-community support which unequivocally condemned the rioting and the campaign of violent attacks on elected representatives and expressed its sympathy to all those who have been attacked or threatened.

  The Government will continue to do all in its power to support the political leaders in Northern Ireland as they work to move beyond the current tensions. Great progress has been made in Northern Ireland towards becoming a society governed by the rule of law, and respect for equality and diversity. The violent events of the past week are a throwback to dark days in the past and will be condemned by everyone committed to true reconciliation.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 40. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if temporary promotions or acting-up allowances have not been a feature of the staffing arrangements for this EU Presidency, if he will confirm that his Department has been given sanction to make such arrangements detailing the number by grade involved, and the date sanction was sought and the date it was given. [56300/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore No temporary promotions or acting-up allowances have been granted to staff of my Department in connection with Ireland’s forthcoming Presidency of the EU.

Bond Markets

 41. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide detailed figures for the total sovereign debt issued by the State through the sale of bonds for each year 1990 to date in 2012; if he will break down the nature of each of these issuances by amount, interest rate, maturity period and ownership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55703/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The information requested by the Deputy concerning debt issued through the sale of bonds each year since 1990 is presently being compiled by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). I hope the Deputy will appreciate however that given the volume of information sought and the length of time covered by the request, some additional time is required in order to ensure that the answer furnished is the most comprehensive and accurate that it can be. I will provide the Deputy with the information requested as soon as possible. I hope and trust that the Deputy understands the position.

General Government Debt

 42. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide figures of the total interest payment made by the State on general Government debt for each year 1990 to date in 2012 by amount and as a percentage of total Government expenditure in each year.  [55705/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The information requested by the Deputy for the years 1995 to 2012 is provided in the following table.

Year Interest Payments

€m
Interest % of Govt. Expenditure
1995 2,718 12.76%
1996 2,625 11.40%
1997 2,935 11.09%
1998 2,608 9.50%
1999 2,090 6.72%
2000 2,144 6.50%
2001 1,825 4.68%
2002 1,854 4.23%
2003 1,805 3.86%
2004 1,739 3.45%
2005 1,750 3.17%
2006 1,865 3.05%
2007 1,975 2.84%
2008 2,402 3.12%
2009 3,294 4.20%
2010 4,975 4.81%
2011 5,326 6.96%
2012 (f) 6,292 9.11%
 Source: Eurostat, DOF

  Interest and expenditure payments 1995-2011 were sourced from Eurostat. 2012 figures were obtained from Budget 2013 receipts and expenditures of general government tables.

  Interest from 1990-1994 is given in the following table sourced from CSO historical National Accounts. Total Expenditure by General Government consistent with the definition of Expenditure used in the table above is not available for these years.

Year Interest Payments
1990 2,144
1991 1,825
1992 1,854
1993 1,805
1994 1,739
  Source: CSO


    The following revised reply was received on 24 January 2013:

The information requested by the Deputy for the years 1995 to 2012 is provided in the following table.

Year Interest

Payments
Interest as %

of Govt.

Expenditure
1995 2,718 12.76%
1996 2,625 11.40%
1997 2,935 11.09%
1998 2,608 9.50%
1999 2,090 6.72%
2000 2,144 6.50%
2001 1,825 4.68%
2002 1,854 4.23%
2003 1,805 3.86%
2004 1,739 3.45%
2005 1,750 3.17%
2006 1,865 3.05%
2007 1,975 2.84%
2008 2,402 3.12%
2009 3,294 4.20%
2010 4,975 4.81%
2011 5,326 6.96%
2012f 6,292 9.11%


Source: Eurostat, DOF

Interest and expenditure payments 1995-2011 were sourced from Eurostat. 2012 figures were obtained from Budget 2013 receipts and expenditures of general government tables.

Interest from 1990-1994 is given in the following table sourced from CSO historical National Accounts. Total Expenditure by General Government consistent with the definition of Expenditure used in the table above is not available for these years.

Year Interest

Payments
1990 2,856
1991 2,881
1992 2,850
1993 2,888
1994 2,789
Source: CSO

Tax Yield

 43. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the average and median individual amount of increased taxation in comparison to pre-July 2013 levels that women on maternity benefit will pay after July 2013 in a full tax year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55760/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the statistical information used to estimate the yield from taxing maternity benefit in 2013 is not sufficiently detailed to provide a reliable basis for ascertaining the precise information requested by the Deputy. However, I would point out that as a result of Maternity Benefit becoming taxable for all claimants with effect from 1 July 2013, three possible tax outcomes could arise:

1. An individual will pay no income tax on their maternity benefit as their tax credits will be sufficient to reduce their tax liability to zero.

2. An individual will pay tax on their maternity benefit at the standard rate of tax.

3. An individual will pay tax on their maternity benefit at the higher rate of tax.

Different Cases
Maternity Benefit
Tax liability on Maternity Benefit
Case 1 No tax due
€6,812
Nil
Case 2 (taxed at 20%)
€6,812
€1,362
Case 3 (taxed at 41%)
€6,812
€2,793

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

 44. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reason behind the changes in taxation regarding maternity benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55761/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The position is that it is a general principle of taxation that, as far as possible, income from all sources should be subject to taxation. In line with this principle, the majority of social welfare payments are reckonable as income for tax purposes. These include long-term payments such as the Disablement Benefit, the State Pension, Widows, Invalidity and Blind Pensions, Carers Allowance and the One Parent Family Payment as well as short term benefits such as Job Seekers Benefit. Treating these payments as income for tax purposes is essentially a matter of equity. Of course, the extent, if any, to which taxation actually arises in a given case depends on the level of income that a recipient has in a tax year. If there is no other income besides the social welfare payment, the basic personal credits in force can be expected in most cases to ensure that no tax arises on the social welfare income itself.

In addition, prior to the Budget day measure to treat maternity benefit as a taxable source of income, there were situations where an employee continued to be paid by her employer, in full, while on maternity leave and, based on her PRSI contributions, was entitled to Maternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection and the previous non-taxation of such benefit resulted in an employee having a greater net take-home pay for the period of maternity benefit, than applied if she was at work.

The rates of Maternity Benefit are earnings-related and are set to reflect post-tax income. It was never intended that a mother gain financially by being on maternity leave. The previous system that allows for a gain, for some recipients, was anomalous and not sustainable given the current budgetary constraints, hence the need to introduce taxation measures.

Tax Rebates

 45. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount of money the Revenue repaid in tax refunds under maternity benefit rates in 2011 and to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55762/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The position is that maternity benefit paid by the Department of Social Protection is not regarded as income for the purposes of the Income Tax Acts for 2011 and 2012 and is disregarded for all tax purposes. The Deputy will be aware, however, that in last week’s Budget, I announced that maternity benefit will become fully taxable from 1 July 2013. As maternity benefit was fully disregarded for tax purposes in 2011 and 2012, no direct refunds of tax were made by Revenue in respect of maternity benefit in those years. The Deputy may, however, be referring to the situation in which an employee resumes work after a period of maternity leave and has unused tax credits and rate bands available. Where this situation arises and the employee resumes work during the same year the employer would make any refund due on the first pay-date following return to work. In cases where the employee does not resume work until after the end of the year, she can apply to her local Revenue office for a review of her tax liability for the year.

It is not possible to provide details of the amounts repaid, in 2011 or to date in 2012, to employees who have been on maternity leave as refunds arising from maternity benefit cannot be distinguished from refunds arising for other reasons.

Investor Compensation Company Limited

 46. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas the latest report and accounts for the Investor Compensation Company Limited; and if he will confirm the estimate of annual funding provided to this company in 2012 and 2013 by the State or its agencies including the Central Bank of Ireland. [55771/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Investor Compensation Company Limited (ICCL) is an independent company established in accordance with the Investor Compensation Act 1998. Under that Act there is no requirement on the ICCL to lay its annual report and accounts before the Houses of the Oireachtas. However, the ICCL publishes this information on its website and the Deputy may wish to read the 2012 Annual Report and Accounts of the ICCL at the following web address: http://www.investorcompensation.ie/ICCL_Report_12.pdf. There is no state funding of the Investor Compensation Company Limited (ICCL). The funds of the ICCL are generated solely from contributions from investment firms. The Deputy may wish to access the following web address for further details on the funding mechanisms of the ICCL: http://www.investorcompensation.ie/funding.php

Economic Growth Rate

 47. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide an explanation for the difference between the forecast contraction of gross national product by the Central Bank of Ireland produced in October 2012 for the full year 2012 of 0.4% and the forecast in the medium term fiscal statement produced by his Department in November 2012 which forecast real GNP growing at 1.4% in 2012. [55772/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan My Department’s latest forecasts are set out in the Economic and Fiscal Outlook which accompanied the Budget and which was based on the Medium Term Fiscal Statement (MTFS) published on 24th November. My Department is projecting real GNP growth of 1.4 per cent for this year. This projection is based inter alia on data for the first half of the year which show annual GNP growth of 2¼ per cent relative to the first half of the previous year.

  The projection for GNP is in excess of that projected for GDP (0.9 per cent). As the Deputy will be aware, GNP equals GDP less net factor income from the rest of the world, the latter mainly relating to profit repatriation by multinational corporations. Net factor outflows recorded a sharp fall in the second quarter of 2012 boosting GNP growth relative to GDP. This development is also likely to contribute to a further improvement in the current account of the balance of payments, which is expected to record a surplus equivalent to 3.4 per cent of GDP this year.

  I would stress that net factor income flows are very volatile on a quarterly basis as they can be heavily influenced by specific decisions made by individual firms which cannot be predicted with much certainty. In this context, the MTFS stresses that there is a wide degree of uncertainty around GNP growth and level forecasts both in the short- and medium-term.

Bond Markets

 48. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan in respect of the €10 million of subordinated bondholders at what was Irish Life and Permanent, whose bonds fell due for payment on 4 December 2012 (details supplied) issued on 4 December 2000 denominated in euros, if he will confirm if these bonds were repaid; if so, when; if they were repaid in full; if so, the efforts that were made to secure discounts or haircuts on the sums paid. [55773/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan As the Deputy will be aware the subordinated bonds in issue are set out in the Annual Report each year. No such bond was listed in Page 151 of the 2011 Annual Report. I have been informed that the Deputy may be referring to the €10 million subordinated bond issued in 2000. As the bond was redeemed in 2008 no payment was made on 4 December 2012. Since the bond had already been redeemed no discounts or haircuts could have been applied to the nominal value.

Tax Yield

 49. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the additional revenue expected to be raised in 2013 and in 2014 for all those tax measures on wealth contained in budget 2013 and if he will detail each of these measures with their individual projected yields for 2013 and 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55792/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan There are no specific tax measures relating to wealth. However I assume the Deputy is referring to Budget 2013 measures that impact on assets and investment income rather than earned income. Details of such measures are set out below.

  Local Property Tax

  The local property tax on residential properties will come into effect as of 1 July 2013. There will be a system of market value taxable bands for properties valued up to €1m. The tax rate will be 0.18% up to €1m. The tax liability is calculated by applying the tax rate to the mid-point of the band.   For residential properties valued over €1m banding will not be applicable. The rate will be 0.18% of actual market value for the first €1m with a rate of 0.25% applying to any excess value over €1m. A half-year of LPT will be payable in 2013 with a full year payable in subsequent years. The revenue expected to be raised in 2013 is €250m. The revenue expected to be raised in 2014 is €500m. However the Household charge will be abolished in 2013 and the Non Principal Private Residence charge (NPPR) will be abolished in 2014. Arrears of both will continue to be collected.

  Deposit Interest Retention Tax and Exit Taxes on Life Assurance Policies and Investment Funds

  The rate of retention tax that applies to deposit interest, together with the rates of exit tax that apply to life assurance policies and investment funds, are being increased by 3 percentage points and will now be 33% for payments made annually or more frequently and 36% for payments made less frequently than annually. The increased rates will apply to payments, including deemed payments, made on or after 1 January 2013. The revenue expected to be raised from the increase to DIRT is €47m for 2013 and is €60m for 2014. The revenue expected to be raised from the increase on exit taxes is €3m for 2013 and €4m for 2014.

  Capital Gains Tax

  The current rate of 30% is being increased to 33%. This increase applies in respect of disposals made after 5 December 2012. The yield is estimated at €47m in 2013 and €48m in 2014.

  Capital Acquisitions Tax

The current rate of 30% is being increased to 33%. This increase applies in respect of gifts or inheritances taken after 5 December 2012. The measure is expected to yield €18m in 2013 and €27m in 2014. The current group tax free thresholds are being reduced by 10%. This reduction applies in respect of gifts or inheritances taken after 5 December 2012. This is expected to yield €10m in 2013 and €15m in 2014.

Tax Yield

 50. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the revenue that would be raised for the Exchequer by increasing the rate of universal social charge by 3% on income earned in excess of €100,000 per annum for PAYE workers; and by increasing the rate by 3% for income received in excess of €100,000 for the self-employed. [55803/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, assuming the enactment of changes announced in the 2013 Budget, the full year yield, estimated by reference to 2013 incomes, from increasing the rate of universal social charge by 3% on income earned in excess of €100,000 per annum by PAYE and self-employed income earners would be of the order of €71 million and €130 million respectively. The Universal Social Charge is an individualised charge and as such, the estimate of yield is based on individual incomes of more than €100,000. The estimated yield is based on confining the extension of the 3% rate to the portion of income which is in excess of €100,000, that is, the increase is not applied to the portion of total income earned up to €100,000.

The figure is an estimate from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2010 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. It is, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised.

Departmental Contracts

 51. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide details of each service in his Department that is currently outsourced; the company that provides such services and the total cost for these services; the other services which may be outsourced in the future that are currently being run in his Department; the names of the companies, fees paid and nature of service for all contracts awarded from his Department excluding legal, accounting, PR or building refurbishment related services since March 2011.  [55830/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan In response to the Deputy's Question none of the work undertaken by officials of my Department is currently outsourced. In common with other Departments my Department undertakes functions in the areas of payroll, banking and financial management. These functions are currently being examined as part of an overall Civil Service approach to the feasibility of delivering these services on a shared service basis.

While this examination, which covers all Departments/Offices, is in progress, one of the options that may be evaluated as part of this work is the provision of these services on an out-sourcing basis. However, any decision to provide these services on an out-sourced basis will depend on the outcome of the current examinations which fall under the remit of my cabinet colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

Banking Sector Remuneration

 52. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if his attention has been drawn to the practice of AIB of only paying wages paid into an AIB account; his views on whether this is an unfair practice that limits competition and if he has any powers to stop this practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55884/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have been informed by AIB that the statement made in the parliamentary question is incorrect. AIB's standard practice is to make payroll payments to the accounts of its employees regardless of which Bank they may be held in across the jurisdictions of Ireland and UK. The Bank does so on the basis of the instruction received from the employee who can change arrangements on request.


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