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. 112-130
 Header Item Film Industry Tax Reliefs
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Vehicle Registration Data
 Header Item Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme
 Header Item Stamp Duty
 Header Item Land Transfers
 Header Item NAMA Social Housing Provision
 Header Item Electric Vehicles
 Header Item Tax Data
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Tax Reliefs Data
 Header Item EU Budget Contribution
 Header Item Revenue Commissioners Reports
 Header Item Budget Measures
 Header Item Labour Market

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 112-130

Film Industry Tax Reliefs

 112. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to extend in the near future the section 481 film relief beyond 2020 in view of the long lead-in time required in the production sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43370/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As a tax expenditure of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, Section 481 is subject to the requirements of the Department of Finance tax expenditure guidelines. The Tax Expenditure Guidelines can be found at: http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2015/Documents/Tax_Expenditures_Oct14.pdf.

  As a requirement under the guidelines, reliefs such as section 481 are required to be reviewed periodically. A full ex post analysis and review of section 481 will be undertaken in line with the tax expenditure guidelines prior to any announcement on the extension of the relief. 

  The most recent Report on Tax Expenditures can be found at: http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2018/Documents/Report_on_Tax%20_Expenditures_2017.pdf.

Tax Code

 113. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to ring-fence moneys raised from carbon taxes to establish a grant scheme for small scale sustainable energy projects, urban horticulture and other schemes that can reduce CO2 emissions on a more local level.  [43377/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Hypothecation of revenue receipts is not a feature of the Irish tax system in general as it reduces the flexibility of the Government to prioritise and allocate funds as necessary at a particular time.

  The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment receive an annual budget as part of the estimates process which they allocate according to the priorities within that Department.

Vehicle Registration Data

 114. Deputy John Brassil Information on John Brassil Zoom on John Brassil asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of cars imported from the United Kingdom in 2015, 2016 and to date in 2017; if there has been a noticeable increase in imports since Brexit and the devaluation of sterling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43514/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by Revenue that the used cars registered for Vehicle Registration Tax that were imported from the United Kingdom in 2015, 2016 and for the period January to September 2017 are as follows.

Year Imports
2015 45,454
2016 69,571
2017 (9 Months) 69,439


  There has been a noticeable increase in these imports since the devaluation of sterling with a 53% increase in 2016 over the previous year. This trend has continued in the first nine months of 2017 with a 41% increase over the same period in 2016 (49,266 used cars from the UK were registered in the period January to September 2016).

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

 115. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to examine the criteria set out in the disabled passengers tax concession regulations 1994, which determine the qualifying conditions for the primary medical certificate; if the criteria will be changed to include primary progressive MS so a person (details supplied) can qualify for the concession when purchasing an adapted vehicle; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43627/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax, an exemption from motor tax and a grant in respect of fuel expenditure, on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a permanently and severely disabled person within the terms of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994.

  The scheme and qualifying criteria were designed specifically for those with severe physical disabilities and are, therefore, necessarily precise. To qualify for the scheme an applicant must be in possession of a primary medical certificate, which can be obtained if an applicant meets one of the following conditions:

  - be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;

  - be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;

  - be without both hands or without both arms;

  - be without one or both legs;

  - be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg; or

  - have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

  After six months an unsuccessful applicant can reapply if there is a deterioration in their condition.

  From time to time representations are received on behalf of individuals who feel they would benefit from the scheme but do not qualify under the criteria.  While I have sympathy for these cases, given the scale and scope of the scheme, I have no plans to expand the medical criteria beyond the six currently provided for in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994.

Stamp Duty

 116. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to retain the 1% rate of stamp duty on family transfers.  [43673/17]

 135. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the estimated impact the 4% increase in stamp duty announced in the budget for non-residential property will have on the purchase of agricultural land; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43701/17]

 142. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if his attention has been drawn to concerns about the imposition of a 6% stamp duty rate on farmland sales; if specific measures will be introduced to alleviate such financial burdens on farmers with small or medium sized land holdings who need to expand or consolidate their farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43985/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 116, 135 and 142 together.

In my Budget 2018 statement I announced an increase in the stamp duty rate for all non-residential property transactions, including agricultural land, from 2% to 6%. On the recommendation of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine I also extended consanguinity relief for another 3 years and provided that the stamp duty rate applying under that scheme will be fixed at 1%. Consanguinity relief is availed of in transferring farms to younger family members. It encourages the early transfer of farms to younger generations and is mostly relevant where the transferee does not qualify for an alternative relief such as the Young Trained Farmer stamp duty exemption.

Details of these measures will be contained in the Finance Bill.

Land Transfers

 117. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the transfer of agricultural land; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43778/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by Revenue that section 89 of the Capital Acquisitions Tax Consolidation Act (CATCA) 2003 provides for agricultural relief. The relief takes the form of a 90% reduction in the taxable value of gifted or inherited agricultural property.

To qualify for the relief, the person taking the gift or inheritance (the 'beneficiary') of the agricultural property must first qualify as a 'farmer' for the purpose of section 89 CATCA 2003. This means that a beneficiary's agricultural property must comprise at least 80% by gross market value of the beneficiary's total property at a particular date.

In addition, for gifts and inheritances taken on or after 1 January 2015, a beneficiary, or a lessee where the beneficiary leases the agricultural land, must actually farm the land on a commercial basis for at least half of his or her normal working time for a period of at least 6 years after receiving the gift or inheritance. There are no restrictions with regard to the relationship between a beneficiary and a lessee where the agricultural land is leased.

I am further advised by Revenue that while the general position is as set out above, it is not their practice to give a definitive answer in respect of a hypothetical scenario such as that set out in the question. The correct tax treatment of the transfer of land between parties can be complex and varies according to the circumstances of the parties involved. The parties involved should either present full details of the proposed transaction to Revenue or seek independent professional advice if they wish to have certainty in his matter.

NAMA Social Housing Provision

 118. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the mechanisms available to NAMA and the proposed home building finance Ireland to ensure the provision of affordable homes on public or private lands. [43837/17]

 119. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the targets he has for commencements and completions of new housing units for 2018 funded via home building finance Ireland; and the mechanisms which will be put in place for recipients of this funding to ensure that houses are sold at affordable prices. [43841/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 119 together.

In my Budget speech on 10 October 2017 I announced a proposal to establish a new dedicated fund, Home Building Finance Ireland (‘HBFI’) which will be designed to increase the availability of debt funding to developers willing to build viable residential development projects. Up to €750 million of ISIF funds will be allocated to HBFI to provide funding on market terms. This fund could have capacity to finance about 6,000 homes in the coming years.

HBFI will not be directly involved in development – its role would be solely as a commercial lender and therefore will not have any role in designing the housing mix contained in the schemes it funds. HBFI will provide lending on commercial, market-equivalent terms and conditions. This approach would be akin to a bank or private equity investor. As such HBFI will not have targets in relation to social or affordable housing but will provide a significant contribution to supporting the delivery of additional supply of all types of residential housing in the coming years. 

Increasing the level of housing output will increase the affordability of housing more generally, which in turn also will have a positive effect on our ability to provide social housing.  For example, any residential developments funded by HBFI will be subject to the same planning and regulatory requirements as all other developments. This includes policies relating to Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 and as such, it is expected that a minimum of 10% of the anticipated output of this investment by HBFI will become available for social housing through this statutory mechanism over this period.

The current estimated shortfall in residential supply is 15,000 - 20,000 units per annum and, accordingly, the HBFI, with an annual average delivery of 2,000 homes, would reduce this shortfall by about 10% (assuming a three year horizon). This would be a significant contribution but it would not make HBFI a dominant player in the residential funding market and it would clearly leave room for banks and other finance providers to increase their contribution to funding much-needed residential development. The 2,000 units per year figure is a simple average of the expected output and not a defined annual target.

Though HBFI is intended to be a debt funder for private residential projects, I can assure the Deputy that this Government is equally determined to increase social housing output over the coming years. For example, an increase of €31 million has been allocated to the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme bringing the total to €115 million. This is expected to deliver an extra 4,000 social housing homes in 2018. In my Budget speech on 10 October 2017, I also announced an additional commitment to further accelerate the delivery of social housing from 2019. I am providing an extra €500 million for the direct building programme which will see an additional 3,000 new build social houses by 2021, increasing the existing Rebuilding Ireland target of social housing homes to 50,000, of which 33,500 will be delivered through construction.

Electric Vehicles

 120. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the reason it is not possible to register an electric van for vehicle registration tax, particularly with regard to the Government’s objectives to decarbonise the transport sector as per chapter five of the national mitigation plan.  [43846/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The registration of electric vehicles is provided for in the Finance Act 1992, section 135C(3)(b). This section provides for a VRT relief of up to €5,000 on passenger cars, vans and other light commercials.

  The VRT relief does not apply to other vans and heavier commercials that are taxed at the flat VRT rate of €200 per vehicle.

  Further information is available on the Revenue website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/importing-vehicles-duty-free-allowances/guide-to-vrt/calculating-vrt/repayment-or-remission-of-vrt.aspx.

Tax Data

 121. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the amount of moneys raised from carbon taxes on an annual basis. [43385/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by Revenue that the carbon tax collected on an annual basis in the years 2010 to 2016 is available on the Revenue's statistics website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/statistics/excise/net-receipts-by-commodity.pdf.

Departmental Bodies Data

 122. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43415/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The following bodies are under the aegis of my Department:

  Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General

  Central Bank

  Credit Review Office

  Credit Union Advisory Committee

  Credit Union Restructuring Board

  Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal

  Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau

  Financial Services Ombudsman Council

  Investor Compensation Company Limited

  Irish Bank Resolution Corporation

  Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal

  Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

  National Asset Management Agency

  National Treasury Management Agency

  Office of the Revenue Commissioners

  Social Finance Foundation

  Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

  Tax Appeals Commission

  In making an appointment to any of the bodies under the aegis of my Department, I have regard to the body or agency in question and its particular area of responsibility etc. as well as ensuring that those appointed have the relevant qualifications for the positions and an appropriate mix of skills and experience.

  The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is the centralised provider of recruitment, assessment and selection services for the Civil Service, Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and other public bodies.

  The Public Appointments Service also aims to provide an open, efficient and effective gateway and process to identify top quality people for consideration by Ministers for appointment to State Boards. The website www.stateboards.ie is the channel used by the Public Appointments Service to both inform the public of vacancies on State Boards and to collate expressions of interest in those roles for Ministers. For each position advertised, the PAS process includes an assessment of all applications, following which a list of suitable candidates is submitted for Ministers’ consideration. 

  Persons being proposed for appointment as chairpersons of State bodies/Agencies will be required to appear before the appropriate Oireachtas committee prior to them being formally appointed by a Minister or the Government as chairperson.

Tax Reliefs Data

 123. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of claims made by companies for correlative adjustments in each of the years from 2008 to 2016, and to date in 2017; the number of claims for correlative adjustments conceded by the Revenue Commissioners; the value of the tax involved in those claims; the amount of tax involved in each of the three largest cases in respect of the number of claims made in these years, by industry, and the other country involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43427/17]

 124. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the estimated cost of refunds that arose from correlative adjustments made in 2017 and are likely to be made in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43428/17]

 125. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the tax at risk in respect of all open claims for correlative adjustments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43429/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 to 125, inclusive, together.

  Regarding open claims for correlative adjustments, I am informed by Revenue that approximately €242 million in tax is the subject of open correlative relief claims. Correlative relief claims may be more appropriately described as potential tax refunds which Revenue may be required to make in accordance with our tax treaty obligations, as opposed to tax at risk. 

  Regarding 2017 and 2018 claims, correlative relief with a tax value of approximately €24 million has been granted to date in 2017.  It should be noted that, as the processing of these claims takes place throughout Revenue’s four Regions and in the Large Cases Division, some completed claims may not have been fully recorded at the time of preparing this reply.

  I am informed by Revenue that it is not possible to estimate the likely tax cost of refunds that may be made in the remaining months of 2017 or in 2018 given the complexity of correlative relief claims and the detailed work which must be undertaken to verify whether the granting of correlative relief is appropriate.

  The table includes the number of correlative relief claims made by companies for each of the years 2008 to 2016 and to date in 2017, together with the number of claims where correlative relief was granted and the tax value of relief granted.

Year of claim No. of claims received No. of these claims where relief granted Tax value of relief granted *
2008 15 12 (3 claims were withdrawn) €319.2m
2009 13 11 (1 claim was withdrawn and 1 claim is still open) €83.1m
2010 16 15 (1 claim was withdrawn) €89.7m
2011 8 5 (1 claim was withdrawn and 2 claims are still open) €40.9m
2012 13 9 (1 claim was withdrawn, 2 claims were not allowed and 1 is still open) €34.2m
2013 10 5 (2 claims were withdrawn and 3 claims are still open) €9.2m
2014 12 4 (1 claim was not allowed and 7 claims are still open) €3.8m
2015 14 4 (2 claims were withdrawn and 8 claims are still open) €8.0m
2016 9 0 (9 claims are still open) €0.0m
2017** 3 1 (2 claims are still open) ***
  * Correlative relief may be granted over a number of years and may take the form of increasing losses to be carried forward as well as refunds and off-sets.

  ** 2017 claims may be understated as a result of claims for correlative relief submitted since June 2017 which are not yet reflected in the records maintained by Revenue.

  *** As there is only one case involved, publication of the amount of tax relief granted is not considered appropriate as it could lead to identification of the company.

  The amount of tax involved in the three largest cases is approximately €372 million.  I am informed by Revenue that their obligation to observe confidentiality in relation to the tax affairs of taxpayers or small groups of taxpayers precludes them from providing information requested by the Deputy in relation to the industry or the adjusting country with respect to those three cases.

  Finally, it is to be noted that claim numbers and amount of tax relief granted as a result of corresponding adjustments agreed between Revenue and the tax authorities of other countries under the Mutual Agreement Procedures provided for in Double Tax Treaties are not included in the above figures.

EU Budget Contribution

 126. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the basis on which the Irish contribution to the EU budget is determined each year; and the specific figures used to determine the actual or projected contributions in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. [43460/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Member State contributions to the EU Budget are based upon a complex formula which includes Traditional Own Resources (customs duties), a VAT-based payment and a residual balancing component paid in accordance with each Member State's share of EU Gross National Income (GNI).

Given both high levels of economic growth in Ireland in recent years, when compared with that of other Member States, our overall share of contributions to the EU budget has grown significantly and Ireland became a net contributor to the EU budget for the first time in 2014. We forecast this trend to continue in the coming years.

Ireland's contribution to the EU budget in 2016 was c. €2,022 million. Our current forecast for Ireland's contribution to the EU budget for 2017 is €2,300 million and €2,650 million in 2018. However, both of these figures are subject to further revision with the release of new projections from the Commission over the coming period.

Revenue Commissioners Reports

 127. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if the recent report by the Revenue Commissioners on Brexit included an analysis on the impact of Brexit on Rosslare Europort; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43502/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the report is now available on its website at www.revenue.ie.

Budget Measures

 128. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the quantum of tax in 2018 estimated to be paid due to changes to section 110; the quantum inclusive of the asset base and the estimated tax from that base; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43640/17]

 129. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to conduct a review of the impact of changes made in budget 2017 inclusive of the estimated tax take from the asset base of funds companies which purchased loan books since 2010; and his plans to issue a report on this matter. [43641/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 129 together.

In the 2016 Finance Act, my predecessor introduced provisions to address concerns raised in both the media and the Dáil regarding the use of section 110 companies and certain Irish collective investment vehicles by international investors to minimise their tax payments on Irish property transactions.

Section 22, Finance Act 2016 made certain changes to the taxation of qualifying companies, within the meaning of section 110 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.  The changes related to the taxation of profits which were derived from Irish land and buildings.  Those changes took effect from 6 September 2016.  I am advised by Revenue that as typically qualifying companies have a 31 December year end, these changes will impact approximately 4/12s of the 2016 taxable profits for these companies, with the full effect of the changes being seen in the 2017 taxable profits.

Revenue further advise me that the corporation tax return - the CT1 - for accounting periods ending in 2017, which for most companies will be due for filing by 23 September 2018, requires certain information from qualifying companies in respect of their Irish property businesses.  When the qualifying companies file those returns, Revenue will be in a position to quantify the Irish property base of qualifying companies.  Allowing for late returns and processing of data, data from returns filed in September 2018 will be available for analysis in early 2019.

The Irish Real Estate Fund (IREF) legislation was also to address the issue of non-resident investors, who have been investing in Irish property through fund structures, avoiding a charge to Irish tax on profits arising from Irish real estate. The IREF regime, which was introduced by section 23 Finance Act 2016, took effect from 1 January 2017. IREFs must operate a 20% IREF withholding tax on the happening of certain taxable events (such as a distribution of profits or a redemption of units). Any withholding tax deducted in respect of distributions made during 2017 must be returned to Revenue by the end of July 2018. Therefore, I am advised by Revenue that they are not yet in a position to identify the amount of withholding tax relating to IREF taxable events that have happened so far in 2017.

 As the measures were implemented in Finance Act 2016, it is still too early for the Department or Revenue to assess the impact of the changes and would be impracticable to review the impact of the changes at this time. 

 In relation to the two measures, a yield of €50 million was included in Budget 2017. This estimate was both conservative and prudent. Regarding the estimates for 2018, my Department forecasts overall Corporation Tax receipts for a particular year and these forecasts do not include separate component elements for section 110 companies or IREFs.

Labour Market

 130. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to conduct an investigation into unpaid work here by activity, gender, income and age; and if so, if it will estimate the value in order to begin moving away from conventional understanding of labour and to better identify barriers to entering the workforce. [43646/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Central Statistics Office (CSO), which is independent, is responsible for collection and publication of labour market data. My Department does not have any plans to conduct an investigation into unpaid work. However, broader labour market measures and studies are used by my Department to gain a deeper understanding of the potential labour supply and the barriers to employment.

The CSO publishes comprehensive labour market data in its Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). This includes information on people’s self-assessed employment and unemployment status and measures of the potential labour supply. The unemployment rate was 6.4% in the second quarter of 2017. The QNHS assessments of potential labour supply ranged from 6.9% to 13.3% depending on the broader groups of people included (i.e. unemployed persons, discouraged workers, passive jobseekers, part-time underemployed persons).

A recent Central Bank staff paper set out a proposed non-employment index that includes the potential additional labour supply, factoring in how likely each group is to transition to employment. This paper estimated that potential labour supply in quarter 4 2016 ranged from 7.9% to 9.4% when part-time underemployed persons are included.

There are a range of initiatives across Government which address employment, including issues around barriers to entering the workforce.  These include the Action Plan for Jobs, Pathways to Work, the National Skills Strategy, the re-organisation of the further education and training sector and the Housing Assistance Payment. These various initiatives are the responsibility of my colleagues the Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work Strategy set out the strategic framework to create jobs, increase employment and reduce unemployment. Reforms to date include the establishment of ‘one-stop shop’ Intreo centres; the transformation of jobseeker services through Intreo; new activation, income and employment supports; and reforms to provide lone parents with enhanced access to education, training, and employment support services.

There has also been a re-organisation of the further education and training sector with the result that Education and Training Boards are now better positioned to respond to individual and national skill needs across a wide range of areas and of the local and regional economy. The National Skills Strategy 2025 provides a framework to ensure the development of a well-educated, well-skilled and adaptable labour force, and supports an inclusive approach to participation in education, training and the labour market across all groups and skill levels.

Recent reforms – particularly the introduction of the Back to Work Family Dividend and the roll-out of the Housing assistance Payment scheme – have addressed concerns about work incentives for families with children.

Considerable progress has been made in implementing reforms to encourage employment, remove barriers to entering the labour market and to remove inactivity traps. The Government will continue to put in place the framework conditions for continued employment growth.


Last Updated: 19/02/2020 09:12:09 First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page