: To put it mildly, I do not think it would be a good selling point for it to get abroad that a policy with an Irish company is now going to cost five-and-a-half per cent more than the same policy for a person in the same circumstances would have cost last year, if this section of the Bill is not amended. There are two separate but related points here. There is the psychological point about the sales impact and the fiscal point about the amount of money involved. The Minister clarified the £50,000 reference by suggesting that this would be a rolling sum, that it would be £50,000 a year. On what total premium outflow assumption is the initial £50,000 costs in tax relief terms based? In relation to the rolling nature of this £50,000, if that is going to increase by £50,000 a year, is this based on another assumption about the trend in the market? Does it assume that as a result of this amendment being accepted the Irish share of the market would decrease, remain static or grow at a rate slower than the rate at which it might otherwise be expected to grow? My impression is that the Irish share of the market has been increasing over the years, and I would be glad if the Minister could confirm this. If its growth is strong it seems that there is every reason to hope that it would be able to fight off the challenge posed by the situation that would be created by the amendment.
The Minister has said that he has not received any representations from the Irish companies. To put it mildly, I am surprised, not that he has not received representations, but that he has not made it his business to find out what the Irish companies thought. The Minister himself is a major shareholder in one of the major Irish companies, and one would have thought that with at least one toe in the insurance market he would be in a very good position to take authoritative soundings rather than the nonauthoritative ones with which he has come into the House today.
On the psychological point, rather than having the situation in the amendment, which the Minister has argued might confer a psychological advantage on Irish companies or the situation in the section which confers a psychological advantage on non-Irish companies, would the Minister consider splitting the difference and establishing a new rate applicable to all premiums of say, three-fifths, so that neither Irish nor non-Irish companies would be able to claim that their position had been either worsened or bettered? There would be simply a new standard rate for relief premiums of three-fifths. It would not be the old non-Irish rate or the old Irish rate: it would be a new rate.