Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 95 - 110
 Header Item Carbon Budget
 Header Item Exchequer Deficit
 Header Item Property Taxation Application
 Header Item Credit Availability
 Header Item Credit Availability
 Header Item Mortgage Interest Relief Expenditure
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Pupil-Teacher Ratio
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Schools Refurbishment
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 76 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 95 - 110

Carbon Budget

 94. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the impact of the extension of carbon tax to solid fuels on the price of smokeless coal and non-smokeless coal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57622/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Minister for Finance ( Mr Noonan): The application of the carbon tax to solid fuels i.e. coal and commercial peat will mean, from 1 May 2013, an increase in price of €1.20 in the case of coal (40kg bag) based on current prices.

Exchequer Deficit

 95. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide details of the Exchequer borrowing requirement in 2013 and 2014 taking into account cash on hand, projected Exchequer deficits and the maturity of Government bonds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57623/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The data requested by the Deputy, which has been provided by my Department and the National Treasury Management Agency, is provided.    The Funding requirement for 2013 and 2014, consisting of the projected Exchequer deficit and Government bonds, is set out in the table.

- 2013 2014
- € billion € billion
Exchequer deficit 15.4 11.6
5% Bond April 2013 -5.1 -
4% Bond January 2014 - -7.6
- - - Source: Department of Finance and NTMA
  The funding requirement will be financed by borrowings and changes in Exchequer cash balances. The end 2012 projected Exchequer cash balance will be some €20 billion.

  Funds in the Exchequer are used for the ongoing payments necessary for running the State. In addition to these day-to-day costs, there are two large debt redemptions that are scheduled for 2013 and 2014 as detailed in the table above.

Property Taxation Application

 96. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of residential properties that he estimates will be liable for the local property tax; if this number is consistent with the number of properties that have been liable for the household charge in 2012. [57625/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they are currently developing the register of residential properties for the purposes of the Local Property Tax (LPT) and it is not possible to say definitively at this stage what the number of liable properties will be. However, the Revenue Commissioners further advise that the number is estimated to be in the region of 1.9 million properties, but this is a tentative estimate at this stage. I am further informed that the number of properties liable to the Household Charge was estimated to be 1.6 million. The additional properties liable to LPT reflect the exemption provisions in the Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 which differ from those in the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011.

Credit Availability

 97. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount of new lending approved and drawn down, as opposed to renewals or bundling of existing credit facilities by each of AIB and Bank of Ireland in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57633/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Bank of Ireland in a press release on 17 December “confirmed that it has achieved and will exceed its    €3.5bn SME lending target for 2012. This figure represents the Bank’s approvals for new and increased credit facilities for businesses and farmers. Credit approved for customers seeking restructured facilities are excluded from these figures as reported by Bank of Ireland.”

  The bank considers that the actual amounts drawn down by SMEs which have been approved for credit is commercially sensitive information and does not release it.

  AIB reports that it has approved credit of €3.75 billion to date and that €660m relates to New Lending.

The lending targets imposed on the two pillar banks are only a part of the Government’s strategy to ensure that viable SMEs are able to access the credit they need. In my recent budget statement, I announced a ten point tax reform plan to help small businesses. I also announced the sanctioning of the appointment of additional reviewers in the Credit Review Office to ensure that SMEs appealing the banks’ decisions to decline credit receive a considered and timely response to their application. We are currently engaged in a public consultation process in order to see what more the Credit Review Office can do to ensure SMEs are getting the support on bank lending they require and I would welcome any proposals from the Deputy on this topic which can be submitted to  croassessment@finance.gov.ie. I would strongly urge viable SMEs to appeal any refusals of credit to the Credit Review Office.   

Credit Availability

 98. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the extent to which efforts have been made to monitor the degree to which lending agencies have restricted or refused credit to the self–employed over the past 12 months; if difficulties the self-employed have experienced in meeting their tax liabilities have been directly linked to a gradual diminution or restriction of credit to the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57653/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Government has imposed SME lending targets on the two domestic pillar banks for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Both banks were required to sanction lending of at least €3 billion in 2011, €3.5 billion this year and €4 billion in 2013 for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs. Both banks achieved their 2011 targets and are expected to achieve their 2012 targets. The Deputy knows that SMEs include self employed people. In addition to the lending targets imposed on the banks,   the pillar banks are required to submit their lending plans to the Department and the Credit Review Office (CRO) at the beginning of each year, outlining how they intend to achieve their lending targets. My Department, in conjunction with the CRO, subsequently analyses the plans and meets the banks to discuss any issues of note. The banks also meet with my Department and the CRO on a quarterly basis to discuss progress. The monthly management meetings with the pillar banks also provide a forum for the issue of SME lending to be raised by my Department.

  In terms of rejection rates from banks, I would remind the Deputy that the CRO can review decisions by the pillar banks to refuse, reduce or withdraw credit facilities, including applications for restructured credit facilities, from €1,000 up to €500,000. The CRO is currently overturning 55% of the refusal decisions referred to them and I would appeal to any self employed business people who have been refused credit by the banks to avail of the services of the CRO.

  The banks report by sector and geographical region but do not report on the basis of the structure of the SME, whether it is a sole trader, self employed, limited company etc. The recent Red C survey shows a credit decline rate of 29% for micro enterprises which would include self employed but does note that the numbers of self employed sampled would not be statistically robust. This rate is an improvement on the two previous surveys.

  The Deputy should be aware that the Microenterprise Loan Fund Act provides for a scheme which will facilitate up to €40million in additional lending to microenterprises over the next five years. Furthermore, the Temporary Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme can facilitate up to €150m per annum of additional credit. This is designed for SME’s who, because of lack of collateral or because of the specialised sector they operate in, face difficulties in accessing bank credit.

  It is vital that the banks continue to make credit available to support economic recovery. However, it is not in the interest of the banks, businesses or the economy for finance to be provided unless the business is viable and has the capacity to meet the interest payments and repay the sum borrowed.

Mortgage Interest Relief Expenditure

 99. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his estimate of the amount of tax forgone through the application of mortgage interest relief to landlords; if he will provide a breakdown of this amount between commercial and residential landlords and the number of people claiming relief in both cases; the number and value of cases where relief is being claimed for a property outside the Republic of Ireland; the number and value of new claims in the past three years for which figures are available with a breakdown by residential and commercial landlords; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57696/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Landlords cannot claim mortgage interest relief which is only available for owner occupiers in respect of their principal private residence.    I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that landlords may deduct interest on money borrowed to purchase, improve or repair commercial property from the gross rent when computing their rental profits for tax purposes on that property. Interest incurred before the first occupation of the property by a tenant for the purposes of a trade or undertaking, or between lettings, is not deductible.

  Based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers for the tax years 2008 to 2010, the latest years available, the amount of tax foregone by allowing a deduction for interest on borrowings to be offset against domestic rental income assessable under Case V, Schedule D for both residential and commercial property and the number of claims by individual taxpayers is as shown in the following table. It is not possible to break down these costs between commercial and residential property.

Tax Year Tax Cost Number of Claims
2008 €1,210m 112,195
2009 €763m 117,984
2010 €679m* 123,167
*This is an update of an estimate of €660 million provided on 29 May last in my reply to Parliamentary Question number 26184/12 .

  In relation to interest claimed as a deduction against foreign rental income , based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers for the tax years 2009 to 2010, the latest years available, the following table shows the estimated tax costs and the number of claims by individual taxpayers. The personal income tax returns for 2008 in respect of foreign rental income did not separately identify allowable interest from other expenses and therefore information is not shown for that year.
Tax Year Tax Cost Number of Claims
2009 €71m 11,773
2010 €69m 13,522
 

 New claims cannot be separately identified from ongoing claims in the data source and accordingly the relevant details of these cannot be shown separately.

  These estimates are based on assuming that tax relief was allowed at the top income tax rate of 41% and the figure provided could, therefore, be regarded as the maximum Exchequer cost in respect of those taxpayers. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not in a position to provide data for 2011 as the tax returns for that year are not yet fully processed. The figures shown in both tables are subject to adjustment in the event of late returns being filed or where returns already filed are subsequently amended.

  It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return form 12 is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return form 11. This return is the source of the figures provided in this reply. As rental income of companies is returned as net of interest on borrowings, the figures for interest are not separately distinguishable and there is, therefore, no basis on which an estimate of the cost in respect of companies can be given.

  Questions No. 100 and 101 answered with Question No. 66.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 102. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when will a student grant issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57365/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that on the 16th November, 2012 a request for further documentation was issued to the student referred to by the Deputy. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 103. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a decision will be made on a Student Universal Support Ireland grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57368/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that on the 19th December, 2012 SUSI contacted the student referred to by the Deputy requesting further documentation. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 104. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the rationale for altering the pupil-teacher ratio for further education colleges; the likely effect this will have on youth unemployment and for the long term unemployed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57369/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon There are 32,688 approved Post Leaving Cert (PLC) places available nationwide and this number of places is being maintained.

PLC places are allocated to Vocational Education Committees (VECs), Community and Comprehensive and Voluntary Secondary schools on an annual basis following an application process and VECs are responsible for the further allocation of those places to schools and colleges under their remit. While it would have been preferable not to have to make any changes, by bringing the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) for PLC courses into line with that of free second level schools, e.g., 19:1, the Government has succeeded in protecting class sizes in primary and free second-level schools for the coming year, ensuring that our limited resources are rightly focussed on the children in our education system. The change will yield estimated savings of €12 million in a full year and €4 million in 2013 because the change will only come into effect from September 2013. The change will reduce the number of teaching posts by 200 in PLC courses and may lead to some reduction in subject choices for students. It is now up to VEC CEOs and principals to plan for September 2013 to ensure they can continue to deliver programmes which closely meet the needs of both students and employers.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 105. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a third level education grant will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57370/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The decision on eligibility for new student grant applications from the 2012/13 academic year is a matter for the new centralised grant awarding authority, SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland).

  The student referred to by the Deputy had her application cancelled by SUSI as it was incomplete. On 22nd November, 2012 a letter was issued by SUSI to the student informing her that her application was cancelled and advising her to reapply.

  When re-applying for a student grant it will be necessary for the student to complete all sections of the application form.

Schools Building Projects Status

 106. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding the proposal to provide a new school (details supplied) in County Cavan; when this project will proceed to the next stage; the timescale for construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57412/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As the Deputy will be aware, a project for a new building for the school to which he refers is included in the 5 year construction programme that I announced last March. It is my Department's intention that this project will proceed to construction in the period 2015/16.

The current status of all projects on the school building programme, including the school in question, may be viewed on my Department's website at www.education.ie. and this is being updated regularly throughout the year.

Schools Refurbishment

 107. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding an application for refurbishment of a school (details supplied); the length of time the request has been with his Department; the steps taken in processing the application to date; the reason it has not yet been approved; the estimated cost of the project and the options regarding funding schemes available; if a summary of the technical report on the school will be given; if he has particular departmental policy on the funding of these small minority schools; if approval will now be given for approval and the processing stages which need to be gone through before approval to go to contract is given.  [57428/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning. My Department has recently approved the stage 2(a) submission and authorised the project to proceed to Stage 2(b) of Architectural Planning which includes application for Planning Permission, Fire Certification, Disability Access Certification (DAC) and the preparation of tender documents. The Deputy will understand that my Department does not disclose the estimated cost of individual projects prior to a tender process due to commercial sensitivities.

My Department makes no distinction based on denomination between primary schools in respect of capital funding applications.

Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme announced earlier this year.

Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, including the one referred to by the Deputy, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 108. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if an application for grant assistance made through Student Universal Support Ireland in respect of a person (details supplied) will be approved. [57429/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that on the 13th December, 2012 a request for further documentation was issued to the student referred to by the Deputy. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 109. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo may expect to have their higher education grant application processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57433/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that, in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, her application is currently being assessed and a letter will issue shortly to the student outlining the position when a decision is made.

Schools Building Projects Status

 110. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide an update in relation to the possibility of having a proposed building project restored to his Department's school building programme (details supplied) in County Cavan; if this project will be prioritised in view of the over-reliance on temporary accommodation at this school where enrolment has grown rapidly over the past number of years and where the long-term permanent accommodation needs of the school have been accepted for some time by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57463/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning. My Department has authorised the project to proceed to Stage 2(b) of Architectural Planning which includes application for Planning Permission, Fire Certification, Disability Access Certification (DAC) and the preparation of tender documents.

Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme announced earlier this year.

Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, including the one referred to by the Deputy, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 12:03:52 First Page Previous Page Page of 76 Next Page Last Page