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Budget Statement 2019 (Continued)

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 973 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe] As part of this process, we will review the withholding tax obligations for peer-to-peer lending companies with a view to their amendment, as appropriate, following the introduction of legislation.

Publications

  I am retaining the 9% VAT rate for newspaper publications and I also propose to reduce the rate for electronic publications from 23% to 9%. This will assist national and regional newspapers to remain competitive and meet the challenges of the modern media landscape.

Betting 

  In the area of betting, the Government's priority has been to level the playing field by extending the tax to remote bookmakers and betting exchanges. This was achieved in 2015 and I believe it is timely to increase the tax from 1% to 2% on amounts wagered in the State. In addition, betting duty on the commission earned by betting intermediaries or exchanges will increase from 15% to 25%.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Well done to Minister of State, Deputy John Halligan.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe These increases will take effect from 1 January 2019 and generate an additional €40 million in 2019 and €52 million in a full year.

Climate Change

  Budget 2019 builds on the new commitments made in the national development plan which represents a step-change in funding commitments for climate action. Of every €5 in Exchequer investment in the plan, €1 will be devoted to addressing climate change. This will provide a significant reduction in carbon emissions up to 2030.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan No, it will not. Shame on Fine Gael.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe In 2019, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment will invest over €164 million in targeted measures to achieve Ireland's energy efficiency and renewable energy objectives in line with the Government's national mitigation plan. Additional climate related measures across other Departments in 2019 include: €103.5 million for improvements in grant and premium rates for planting forests; the introduction of a beef environmental efficiency pilot to further improve the carbon efficiency of beef production-----

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley What is that?

A Deputy: More money for farmers.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe -----€70 million for the targeted agricultural modernisation scheme; and additional funding of €70 million for the environment and waste management programme.

Deputy Catherine Martin: Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin Did the Minister read the IPCC report?

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe In relation to tax measures, I am extending the VRT relief for hybrid vehicles until the end of 2019. I will then review these reliefs in the context of the overall changes to VRT brought about by the new emissions measurement system, namely, the WLTP. The new system will increase the amount of VRT payable on many new cars. The measures were introduced on a transitional basis this September when it was estimated that there would be an increase of some 7% in emissions. This will rise to 20% with effect from 2020 when the transitional arrangements no longer apply. In line with several other EU member states and in support of climate and public health policy, I am providing for a 1% surcharge for diesel vehicles to apply across all VRT bands.

Carbon Tax

  I welcome the ESRI report as a first step in better understanding the environmental, social and economic impact of carbon tax. It is my intention to put in place a long-term trajectory for carbon tax increases out to 2030 in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Advisory Council and the special Oireachtas committee examining changes in climate.

Gas Propelled Vehicles and Refuelling Equipment

  I will be introducing a new accelerated capital allowances scheme for gas-propelled vehicles and refuelling equipment. This is designed to encourage the uptake of gas-propelled commercial vehicles as an economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel.

  The green public transport fund was established to support the uptake of low-carbon, energy efficient technologies within the public transport sector and, as set out in the national development plan, Ireland will no longer purchase diesel-only buses for the urban public service obligation fleets after July 2019.

Green Budgeting and Green Finance

  The publication of a special report from the UN's International Panel on Climate Change underscores the need for resolute action to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement.

  In support of this, I am committing Ireland to joining the Paris collaborative on green budgeting. Under this initiative, we will develop new and innovative ways of embedding climate change in the budgetary process. As a first step, my Department will publish a list of all Exchequer climate-related expenditure in this year's Revised Estimates Volume.

  The National Treasury Management Agency, NTMA, will also issue shortly Ireland's first ever green bond. The bond will broaden the funding base for Ireland's debt and, in future, may even allow the financing of climate related expenditure at a lower rate of interest than other expenditures.

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL IRELAND

  I turn now to agriculture which, of course, makes a significant contribution to our economy and society.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley And climate change.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe However, it is also a part of our society which faces a number of threats with Brexit posing specific challenges. To support the sector and, in particular, disadvantaged farmers, I am allocating an additional €57 million of current expenditure to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2019.

  A sum of €60 million in current and capital Brexit-related supports will be provided to improve resilience in the farm sector along with supporting productivity improvements in the food sector. As well as making provision for the initial staffing and ICT needs to meet the regulatory requirements of Brexit, agencies will be allocated additional resources to promote new markets and retain competitiveness.

  I am also doing this because I recognise that 2018 was a difficult year for our farming community. With that in mind, I am renewing the existing stock relief measures for a further three years. To help support more farmers to cope with the problem of income volatility, I am extending income averaging to farms with off-farm trading income.

  I also intend to provide for a three year extension of the young trained farmer stamp duty relief, which was due to expire at the end of this year.

RURAL AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

  The Government is fully committed to supporting the sustainable development of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development. Therefore, I am allocating an additional €53 million in capital next year to fund the first round of projects under the new rural regeneration and development fund. This represents an unprecedented commitment by this Government to strengthen our rural economies and communities. In the context of Brexit, I am also pleased to provide increased funding for the PEACE programme to support economic and social stability in the Border region at this particularly important time.

TACKLING CRIME

  I turn now to policing. We saw three weeks ago saw the publication of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. I compliment the commission on its excellent report which lays the groundwork for the transformation that is needed. Reflecting my commitment to this transformation, I am increasing next year's budget for An Garda Síochána by €60 million, or 3.5%. This increase will allow for the recruitment of up to 800 gardaí and will support Commissioner Harris to drive the reforms our citizens deserve. The years ahead offer many opportunities for policing in Ireland. I am allocating, therefore, an additional €60 million in current expenditure to the broader justice sector to: provide additional asylum accommodation; widen the Magdalen scheme; fund reforms within the Department of Justice and Equality and the Courts Service; address pressures on criminal legal aid and in prisons, and respond to the demands faced by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in its EU-wide role.


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