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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 231-45
 Header Item Bank Charges
 Header Item Banking Operations
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item NAMA Portfolio
 Header Item House Prices
 Header Item Government Deficit
 Header Item Budget Measures
 Header Item Budget 2015
 Header Item Budget 2015
 Header Item European Stability Programmes
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item NAMA Loan Book
 Header Item IBRC Staff
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments
 Header Item Tax Credits

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 231-45

Bank Charges

 231. 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 reason different charges can apply to ATM transactions depending on where the ATM is located including, for example, in a shop; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13449/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have no role with regard to the regulation of ATM charges. The Central Bank has informed me that, under section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (as amended), regulated financial institutions must seek, and be granted, approval from the Central Bank to impose charges relating to certain products and services, including cash withdrawals at ATMs. Each institution has a maximum approved level, up to which it can charge. An institution may choose not to impose the charge immediately on receipt of the Central Bank approval and instead may impose it at a later date. An institution may not charge in excess of its maximum permitted level. Charges imposed will differ from institution to institution depending on its pricing strategy.

Banking Operations

 232. 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 position regarding banks issuing drafts for less than €1,000; if the Central Bank of Ireland has been in contact with banks regarding the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13450/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan  I have been advised by the Central Bank that the banks in Ireland have varying policies with regard to the issue of bank drafts. These policies are operational matters for the management board of each bank concerned and I do not propose to comment on this matter. However, I would advise a customer to seek information in relation to drafts directly from his or her own bank. I understand that some banks provide drafts for less than €1,000. The Deputy will be aware that there are alternative methods of making payments such as credit transfers to the payee using online banking or payment by visa debit or credit card.

Tax Yield

 233. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amounts in tabular form, for VAT, PAYE, income tax and corporation tax paid in County Kerry for the years 2006, 2009 and onwards to the most recent available records. [13481/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant information available of net receipts on a geographical basis is estimated on the basis of "bailiwick" (meaning the jurisdiction or boundaries within which Revenue Sheriffs, County Registrars or their officers operate for the purposes of enforcement of tax debt). Bailiwick broadly equates geographically with "county".

  It should be noted that the amount of tax attributed to a county may not necessarily be an indication of economic activity in that county for several reasons. The liability of a trader to VAT is generally dealt with by reference to the location of the trader's registered office, even though the economic activity may be carried on in another county. An employer's liability for PAYE is normally attributed to the county in which wages and salaries are paid, even though the employees may live or work in different counties. Companies are associated on the tax record with the address of the head-office or branch with which contact is established for tax purposes, which may be different to the locations of other branches. The distribution of the taxes in question can also vary from year to year as businesses move premises.

  Revenue data on net receipts for most taxes can be linked to bailiwicks to provide an estimated breakdown of receipts on a county basis. The information for County Kerry for the years from 2006 to 2012, the latest year available, is shown in the following table.

YearPAYE Income Tax (€m)Other Income Tax (€m)VAT (€m)Corporation Tax (€m)
2006324.780.8173.638.7
2009343.361.9132.421.6
2010324.258.6133.118.8
2011417.563.9108.832.0
2012443.573.7102.729.0


  In considering the figures in the table, the following should be noted:

  The figures for VAT receipts include only VAT internal (VAT on imports and VAT on products leaving tax warehouses are excluded).

  PAYE Income Tax includes associated USC and Income Levy (for the relevant years).

  1. Other Income Tax includes all non-PAYE Income Tax as well as associated USC and Income Levy (for the relevant years)

  2. The figures shown are net after relevant repayments.

NAMA Portfolio

 234. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to Parliamentary Question No. 78 of 5 December 2013, the number of houses that have been transferred by the National Asset Management Agency to each local authority; the way this breaks down between apartments and two and three bedroom houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13490/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised that the number of properties delivered for social housing by NAMA is published quarterly on both the NAMA and Housing Agency websites. At end-2013, 596 residential units had been delivered or contracted for delivery by NAMA. A breakdown as between houses and apartments is available at www.housing.ie/NAMA.

House Prices

 235. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his views on a matter regarding property prices (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13516/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan While it is true that we've seen a return to growth in residential property prices over the past year, it is important to remember that this pick-up follows a peak-to-trough decline of just over 50 per cent nationally over the preceding five years. Indeed, residential property prices nationally are still 47 per cent lower than at their highest level in September 2007.  

While much of the attention of late has focused on the Dublin market, where prices are up about 18 per cent since bottoming out in August 2012, prices in the capital are still 50 per cent lower than at their peak in early 2007.  It is against this background that the recent appreciation in house prices must be assessed.

It should also be noted that the previous housing bubble was accompanied by a dramatic increase in mortgage lending.  The same cannot be said of the recent increase in house prices, with indications that a large percentage of transactions are taking the form of cash purchases.  Figures from the Irish Banking Federation show the value of mortgage lending for house purchase in 2013 stood at just €2.4 billion, or just 8 per cent of the value of mortgage lending in 2006.

However, as I said in my Budget Day speech, I am aware that there are some supply limitations in certain urban areas. In light of this I introduced several measures to help increase the supply of suitable residential housing stock as part of Budget 2014. These included subject to State Aid approval the extension of the Living City Initiative, to include Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Dublin and the broadening of eligibility criteria to include all buildings built prior to 1915

More generally, as outlined in the Medium-Term Economic Strategy, the Government will continue to work on addressing remaining challenges in the property and construction sectors. This will include developing an overall strategic approach to housing supply, identifying and implementing further improvements in the planning process to facilitate appropriate development, and seeking to improve financing options for development and mortgage provision.

Government Deficit

 236. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide the latest available estimate of the 2014 deficit. [13523/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The latest fiscal and macro-economic forecasts were published as part of the Budget 2014 booklet. These forecasts estimated that the underlying general government deficit for 2014 would be 4.8% of GDP.

My Department is currently working on an update to these forecasts, which will incorporate the latest economic and fiscal data. When finalised, the updated forecasts will be included in the Stability Programme Update, which is due for publication next month.

Budget Measures

 237. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide the latest available estimate figure of carry forward measures introduced in previous budgets that will affect budget 2015; and if he will list the budgetary measures that comprise this carry forward. [13524/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Carryover measures from previous budgets are estimated to be broadly neutral in 2015 with a small negative carryover in the region of €10 million. The exact impacts of carryover will be reviewed as part of the Budget 2015 process, as there are a lot of moving parts to be considered, such as economic growth and specific tax relevant factors, which could impact on the expected return from the measures.  These will be reflected in the White Paper on Receipts and Expenditure which will be published in advance of Budget 2015.

Budget 2015

 238. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide the latest available estimate for the non-budgetary adjustment to the 2014 deficit to be considered in budget 2015.  [13525/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Budget 2014 outlined a total adjustment package of €3.1bn. This comprised €2.5bn in expenditure cuts and tax increases complemented with additional resources/other savings of €0.6bn.

These additional resources/other savings are made up of a number of items. Firstly, the NTMA Budget debt service estimate for 2014 is lower than the corresponding April SPU estimate, of the order of €0.2bn, due to an improvement in the interest rate environment generally and lower than previously planned bond issuance. In summer 2013, the Central Bank provided an estimate of the 2013 surplus income to be paid to the Central Fund in 2014 based on results to that date and projections for the remainder of the year.  The Central Bank revised this estimate upwards by €0.1bn in September, in light of actual results for the first nine months and the consequent revisions of projections for the remaining three months of 2013.  In terms of savings from the Live Register, the numbers in work rose by 33,800 in the year to the second quarter of 2013 and the Live Register at the end of quarter 3 2013 was down by just over 20,000 when compared to the same period in 2012. On foot of the recovering labour market, live register savings had exceeded those previously expected of the order of €0.15bn.  Finally, the remaining €0.15bn arises from a number of other factors mainly connected with State asset transactions.

With Exchequer data available for only two months of the year, it is too early for a meaningful comparison against outturn for any estimates made as part of the Budget 2014 fiscal forecast. The estimates for additional resources / other savings in 2014 will be reviewed, closer to budget time, as part of the formulation of an overall Budget 2015 package of measures.

Budget 2015

 239. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide an estimate of the earliest date that the full no policy change budget for budget 2015 will be seen.  [13526/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan In advance of each Budget, the White Paper on Receipts and Expenditure is published, in accordance with the provisions of Article 28 of the Constitution. As the Deputy will be aware, the White Paper contains the fiscal forecast for the forthcoming year based on a position of no policy change.

This forecast is based on the same macroeconomic and fiscal policy data as the forecast contained in the budget booklet. This allows for the fiscal forecasts to be directly compared, showing the impact of budgetary measures. For Budget 2014, this data is contained in Table 7 on page C.14 of the budget booklet.

In order to ensure that the fiscal forecast contained in the White Paper is still relevant at the time the Budget is announced, it is necessary to wait until close to Budget day before it is finalised. For this reason, any forecast based on no policy change will not be available until the days prior to the announcement of budgetary measures.

The Deputy should note, however, that budgetary forecasts for the next four years will be set out in the update of the Stability Programme which must be submitted to the European Commission by the end of April. Policy assumptions underpinning the forecasts will be set out in the document.

European Stability Programmes

 240. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide an estimate of the earliest date at which his Department will publish the stability programme update; and if he will guarantee that members of the Houses of the Oireachtas will have at least two weeks to interrogate the document and suggest amendments for his Department’s consideration, before it is submitted to the European Commission in accordance with the requirements under the European semester. [13527/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Each Member State is required to submit an annual update of its Stability Programme (Convergence Programme in the case of non-euro area Member States) in April, outlining the overall fiscal stance over the short- and medium-term.

The Government intends to publish its 2014 Update of the Stability Programme in draft format by mid-April. Following engagement with the Houses of the Oireachtas the final document will subsequently be submitted to the European Commission by the end-April deadline, in accordance with our legal requirements.

Tax Yield

 241. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of taxpayers within the high earner restriction in each of the following years, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, analysed within the following income bands, €125,000 to €250,000, €250,001 to €500,000, €500,001 to €750,000, €750,001 to €1,000,000, and in excess of €1 million; the estimated extra yield arising in each of the those years because of the restrictions; and the estimated yield because of the restrictions in 2013 and 2014.  [13547/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Revenue Commissioners prepare an annual report on the application of the high income individual's restriction[1].  The following figures on the numbers of individuals who fall within specific bands and the amount of additional tax raised are extracted from those reports:

--200920102011
Up to€250,00031767580
€250,001€500,000238509362
€500,001€650,000429980
€650,001€800,000386346
€800,001€1,000,000283824
In excess of€1,000,000756851
Total number of individuals 4521,5441,143
Additional tax €38,865,420€80,177,797€63,598,808


  The income level at which the restriction started to apply was reduced for the 2010 year of assessment.  For that reason there are significantly more individuals in the "up to €250,000" bracket for 2010 and 2011 than for 2009.

  The 2012 income tax returns were filed in November 2013 and are currently being processed.  The yield from the measure for the 2012 year is not yet fully analysed.  The estimated yield for the tax years 2013 and 2014 is not available.

[1] The 2011 report is available on:http://www.finance.gov.ie/what-we-do/tax-policy/publications/reports-research/restriction-reliefs/restriction-reliefs.

NAMA Loan Book

 242. 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 estimated original value of the National Asset Management Agency's loan book for the North of Ireland; the price that NAMA paid for the loans; if he will provide a breakdown of the individual largest loans within that total price; and the estimated discounted value on the loans as they are currently being proffered for sale.  [13554/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The par or nominal value of NAMA s Northern Ireland portfolio at the time of acquisition was €4 billion. It is not appropriate that NAMA discloses what it paid the participating institutions as consideration for the loans as there is a competitive bidding process underway.

NAMA is not in a position to provide details of individual loans as it is prohibited under Sections 99 and 202 of the NAMA Act from disclosing confidential information which is specifically defined to include information relating to its debtors.

As I have stated a sales process for loans held by Northern Ireland debtors is currently under way and is not expected to conclude for some weeks, it is not possible at this stage to speculate as to the price that prospective purchasers may offer for the loans.

IBRC Staff

 243. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the position regarding the staff at the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, specifically the terms of contracts under which they are being employed; the number of employees that have left the IBRC since the appointment of the special liquidators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13602/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have been advised by the Special Liquidators that the terms of contracts under which people are employed are similar to those terms that applied prior to the appointment of the Special Liquidators with the following exceptions;

  - All ROI employees were made redundant on the date of the appointment of the Special Liquidator (07 Feb 2013) and were immediately rehired on similar terms on a temporary basis with one months notice; and

  - Permanent Health Insurance and Enhanced Maternity Pay were subsequently discontinued. 

  I am advised that there has been no change to the contracts of employment of UK and Northern Ireland employees other than that all are on notice of redundancy to take effect on 31 July 2014.

  A total of 564 employees have left, or will have left IBRC in the period since the appointment of the Special Liquidators up to 31 March 2014.

Unfinished Housing Developments

 244. 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 indicate, in relation to lands and property assets held by development companies for liquidation, and where developments are not completed to the planning permission, do the assets transfer to protected creditors, his Department, the State solicitor or another agency; if any proceeds are made available to complete public services in incomplete housing developments, debts to the Revenue service, lenders or other creditors in such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13605/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The liquidation process for companies and the assignment of any proceeds under that process is governed by the Companies Acts which come under the aegis of my colleague, Mr Richard Bruton TD Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. I understand that where the assets of development companies are liquidated they are transferred to various creditors in accordance with the normal hierarchy.

Tax Credits

 245. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will restore the single person child carer tax credit for single fathers who lost their tax credit since 1 January 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13619/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputy will be aware that the One-Parent Family Credit has been replaced with a new Single Person Child Carer Credit from 1 January 2014.   The restructured credit is of the same value i.e. €1,650 per annum as the one-parent family credit and also includes the same entitlement to the additional €4,000 extended standard rate band, which increases it to €36,800 per annum, before liability to higher rate of income tax arises.  However, the credit and the band are more targeted in that they are, in the first instance, only available to the principal carer of the child.

The person who receives the child benefit payment is being used as the initial indicator by the Revenue Commissioners to identify the individuals who are likely to qualify for the new credit.  However, the credit will in the first place go to the person who cares for the child for most of the year. Agreement as to who will be the principal carer of a child is a matter for the parents or guardians.

The Commission on Taxation acknowledged that the One-Parent Family Tax Credit played a role in supporting and incentivising the labour market participation of single and widowed parents.  However, in its recommendations it concluded that the credit should be retained but that it should be allocated to the principal carer only. The restructuring of the credit will achieve such an outcome.

This measure was discussed at length during the passage through the Oireachtas of the recent Finance Bill, at which I brought forward an amendment to allow the credit to be relinquished by a principal carer such that a secondary claimant can avail of it provided they meet certain qualifying conditions. The Government, by allowing for such relinquishing, where a principal carer chooses to do so for whatever reason, actually provided for an additional option for single person carers, over and above that recommended by the Commission on Taxation. The Finance (No. 2) Act 2013 was signed into law by the President as recently as 18 December 2013. Therefore, I have no plans to review the matter in the short term.


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