Universal Social Charge Yield

Questions (187)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

187. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide, in tabular form, the yield or estimated yield from increasing the basic 7% universal social charge to 8%, 9%, 10% and 11%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30116/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the yields to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2013 incomes, of increasing the 7% rate to 8%, 9%, 10%, and 11%, as suggested by the Deputy, would be of the order of €450 million, €900 million, €1,345 million, and €1,795 million in a full year respectively. The estimated yields include corresponding rate increases applied to the 10% rate of USC that applies to income from self employment exceeding €100,000 and also to those individuals for whom the 7% rate is restricted to 4%.

These figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2010 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. They are, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised.

Tax Reliefs Availability

Questions (188, 192)

Dara Calleary

Question:

188. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance his plans to amend the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 in order that patients are allowed to claim reimbursement in respect of physiotherapy expenses when they self refer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30117/13]

View answer

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

192. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Finance if he has had the opportunity to examine the possibility of amending Section 469 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 in respect of persons claiming reimbursement of their physiotherapy expenses through self-referral; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30232/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 and 192 together.

The position is, as I have stated on many occasions in the House, that this issue was raised during the debates in the Seanad on Finance Bill 2013, during which I agreed to re-examine the matter during the course of this year.

My Department is currently in the process of examining the issue and when the analysis is completed and the findings are presented to me, I will make any necessary decisions in the context of Finance (No. 2) Bill 2013.

VAT Rates Application

Questions (189)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

189. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the case of a shopkeeper in County Donegal from whom Revenue has demanded a tax payment in respect of the sale of mass cards on a non-profit basis and subject to VAT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30135/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, as the Deputy has not identified the shopkeeper in question, they cannot respond in relation to the particular case referred to. However, they have provided the following information in regard to the matter of VAT being chargeable on the sale of Mass Cards. A trader whose business includes the sale of Mass Cards must record the sales in his/her business records. The sale of Mass Cards by an accountable person is liable to VAT at the standard rate of 23%. Therefore, where the trader is an accountable person within the meaning of Section 5 of the Value-Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010, he or she is required to charge VAT at the standard rate on the full consideration.

Tax Code

Questions (190)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

190. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Finance if the agricultural relief available to farmers to assist them in passing their farms to relatives in order to maintain a working farm within the family unit will be maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30170/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I take it the question raised by the Deputy refers to Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) agricultural relief. In order to qualify for this relief an individual receiving a gift or inheritance of agricultural property must qualify as a farmer. For the purpose of the relief a farmer is an individual at least 80% of whose assets constitute agricultural property.

The relief takes the form of a reduction in the market value of the agricultural property - currently by 90% - for the purposes of establishing the Group thresholds and determining whether or not a CAT liability arises on a transfer. This relief has increased over the years from an original reduction of 50% when CAT was introduced in 1975. The relief will be withdrawn if the agricultural property is sold or compulsorily acquired within six years of or, in certain circumstances, ten years of the gift or inheritance unless the proceeds are reinvested in other agricultural property.

Preparations for Budget 2014 and the consequent Finance Bill have commenced. It would not be appropriate to comment on what changes, if any, are being considered in this area nor any other area.

Property Taxation Data

Question No. 192 answered with Question No. 188.

Questions (191)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

191. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he will set out in tabular form the details of those who registered with the local property tax to include the numbers of persons who registered; if these registrations were completed in full; the payment option that persons chose; the numbers of those who paid in full; the numbers who paid a portion of the charge; and the percentage of that portion. [30191/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As I previously indicated to the House in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 74 of 30 May 2013 (26457/13) the Revenue Commissioners confirmed that, at the end of the extended LPT filing deadline on 29 May 2013, 1,539,822 LPT Returns had been filed. According to the Commissioners, in excess of 1.55 million returns have now been filed. Up the end of May over €121m had been transferred by Revenue to the Exchequer. I am informed that work is still ongoing in relation to the LPT Register and it includes processing the LPT Returns that are still being filed as well as following up on a substantial amount of correspondence sent in by property owners. This work is likely to continue for some time and it will not be possible to provide details of the type sought by the Deputy until such time as that work is complete.

With regard to questions about payments made by residential property owners, the Deputy will be aware that the due date for payment of the tax is 1 July 2013. I am advised that a significant number of payments are still being made on a daily basis by property owners in the run-up to the due date and it will not be possible to give a definitive reply to the Deputy until some time after the due date.

I am advised by the Commissioners that detailed analysis of the returns filed and payments is currently underway and they will make the relevant data publicly available as soon as possible.

Question No. 192 answered with Question No. 188.

NAMA Loan Book

Questions (193)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

193. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a breakdown in geographical terms by region and country, percentage and value of the properties underlying the National Asset Management Agency loans in 2012 and to date in 2013. [30235/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I refer the Deputy to pages 21-22 of NAMA’s Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2012, which contain a detailed breakdown of property, by geography and sector, securing NAMA loans as at 31 December 2012. I am advised by NAMA that a breakdown in respect of 2013 will be provided in the relevant Annual Report and Financial Statements.

Tax Collection

Questions (194)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

194. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the names of the top ten companies managed by the Revenue's Large Cases Division. [30250/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the criteria for entry into their Large Cases Division is applied on a group rather than a company basis. For a group to be managed in the Large Cases Division, group turnover must be in excess of €162 million or group tax payments (all taxes) must be in excess of €16 million in a year. In addition, certain sectors such as pensions and banking are managed in their entirety by this Division. I am also advised by the Revenue Commissioners that for reasons of taxpayer confidentiality they are not in a position to provide the names of individual companies managed by Revenue’s Large Cases Division.

EU Funding

Questions (195)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

195. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline Ireland's financial contribution to the EU for the past ten years. [30251/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Data on Ireland’s EU Budget contributions are published annually by my Department in the Budget & Economic Statistics bulletin. The table below contains the most recently published data. Ireland’s contribution for 2012 will be published in my Department’s Budget and Economic Statistics bulletin for 2013, due to be published in the autumn.

Year

EU Budget Payment

€m

2002

1,011.2

2003

1,190.4

2004

1,185.5

2005

1,496.9

2006

1,529.7

2007

1,570.0

2008

1,586.7

2009

1,486.3

2010

1,352.4

2011

1,349.7

Notes

National annual figures may differ in some instances to European Commission published figures. This is due to a number of factors including different accounting periods and practices.Rounding may affect totals.

Sources: Department of Finance & Paying Authorities

Tax Code

Questions (196)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

196. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding tax liability in respect of persons entering farming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30264/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I understand that the Deputy’s question relates to gift and inheritance tax regarding farms. The Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) code includes gift tax, inheritance tax and discretionary trust tax.

The tax is charged on the amount gifted to, or inherited by, the donee (the person receiving the gift/inheritance). There is a tax-free threshold (referred to as a ‘group threshold’), based on the relationship between the disponer (the person making the gift/leaving the inheritance) and the donee (the beneficiary). Previous gifts/inheritances since 1991 from other disponers in the relevant group are counted when calculating the taxable amount over the threshold. The balance of the gift/inheritance above the threshold is taxable, currently at a single rate of 33%.

The Group A tax-free threshold is €225,000; the Group B tax-free threshold is €30,150; and the Group C tax-free threshold is €15,075.

Group A relates to gifts and inheritances taken by children from their parents. Group B covers gifts and inheritances between relatives, for example, brothers and sisters, grandparents to grandchildren, uncles and aunts to nieces and nephews. Finally, Group C deals with gifts and inheritances between all other persons.

There is a CAT agricultural relief. In order to qualify for this relief an individual receiving a gift or inheritance of agricultural property must qualify as a farmer. For the purpose of the relief a farmer is an individual at least 80% of whose assets constitute agricultural property.

CAT agricultural relief takes the form of a reduction in the market value of the agricultural property - currently by 90% - for the purposes of establishing the Group thresholds and determining whether or not a CAT liability arises on a transfer. This relief has increased over the years from an original reduction of 50% when CAT was introduced in 1975. The relief will be withdrawn if the agricultural property is sold or compulsorily acquired within six years of or, in certain circumstances, ten years of the gift or inheritance unless the proceeds are reinvested in other agricultural property.

The overall position as regards CAT is therefore, that parents can transfer a family farm with a market value of up to €2,250,000 to a child without any charge to CAT arising on the transfer, (assuming the child qualifies as a “farmer” under the 80% assets test) as the market value of the agricultural lands transferred would be reduced by 90% to €225,000 – this is the Group A threshold for transfers from parent to child for CAT purposes – to leave no CAT payable. (This assumes that the child has received no prior gifts or inheritances from his or her parents).

The fact that farms with a market value of up to €2,250,000 can be transferred to a child without any charge to CAT arising reflects the Governments recognition of the central importance of agriculture to the overall economy and to the sustaining of rural communities.

Company Registration

Questions (197)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

197. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of companies his Department and the Revenue are aware of that are incorporated here but are non-tax resident anywhere in the world. [30290/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that there is no requirement in Irish tax law for a company to claim the status of Irish registered non-resident company. While there is no requirement for a company to claim Irish registered non-resident status, the Revenue Commissioners as part of their normal compliance activity in the area of corporation tax, would seek confirmation from a company as to how it is structured and would verify that all relevant corporation tax rules have been correctly applied. Owing to the obligation of the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the confidentiality of taxpayer information and the small number of companies involved, I have been informed that they are precluded from providing the information requested.

Tax Code

Questions (198)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

198. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of increasing the entry point for the 41% marginal rate of tax from its current level to the following respective categories, €34,000; €35,000; €36,000. [30291/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I assume that the Deputy refers to an increase in the standard rate tax bands, which would apply similarly to single and widowed persons, as well as to lone parents. In addition, the proposed extensions to the various standard rate bands are assumed to also apply to married couples. On this basis, I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year cost to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2013 incomes, of increasing the single persons standard rate tax band to €34,000, €35,000 and €36,000 while also maintaining the current monetary differences between the single persons standard rate tax band and the various other classes of standard rate tax bands would be of the order of €185 million, €335 million and €475 million respectively.

These figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using latest actual data for the year 2010, adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. They are, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised.

Financial Services Ombudsman Issues

Questions (199)

Michael McGrath

Question:

199. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he intends to introduce a change to the legislation whereby consumers currently have six years from the date they purchased a financial product to submit a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman; if he will consider allowing persons a certain period of time from the date they became aware of a problem with the financial product to submit a complaint; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30314/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Firstly, I must point out that the Financial Services Ombudsman is independent in the performance of his statutory functions. I have no role in the day to day workings of the office. The Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau was established under the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004. This legislation provides the Financial Services Ombudsman with various powers in order to determine jurisdiction on a complaint. Included in this is a statutory timeframe, Section 57BX (3)(b) provides:-

“A consumer is not entitled to make a complaint if the conduct complained of - occurred more than 6 years before the complaint is made.”

The legislation prohibits the Financial Services Ombudsman from examining any aspect of a complaint where the conduct being complained of occurred more than 6 years from receipt of the Complaint in his Office. If the conduct being complained of occurred 6 year before the complaint is submitted to the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Ombudsman has no discretion in examining such a case”.

I, as Minister for Finance, do not have the primary role in relation to amending the law on the “Statue of Limitations”. This is a matter which has broader legal application and as such would fall for consideration by my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.

European Banking Sector

Questions (200)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

200. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance if officials in his Department or the Central Bank of Ireland have been in consultation with the European Central Bank regarding a programme to provide cheap funding to small businesses, a programme similar to that run by the Bank of England in the United Kingdom entitled Funding for Lending that commenced in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30318/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The European Central Bank works closely with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and with the EU Commission. The ECB is an independent body in which I have no role in relation to its internal deliberations. Regarding an ECB role in providing funding directly for small businesses, this falls in the realm of monetary policy. Monetary policy issues are discussed at the Governing Council and the President of the ECB communicates on behalf of the ECB. In this regard, I would note that the President addressed this issue during the April, May and June post Governing Council press conferences. The EIB, however, has highlighted SME financing as one of its priorities. In relation to Ireland, this has been evidenced with the recent announcement of the EIB of the provision of €200 million for investment in AIB for small and medium companies across Ireland. This represents the latest EIB support for SMEs in Ireland since an earlier lending programme intermediated by AIB in 2011. As part of the Management Committee visit to Ireland in April, the EIB delegation met with myself and a number of other Government Ministers including Minister Bruton, where it was highlighted that access to funding for Irish SMEs is a priority for Ireland.

Since Mr Werner Hoyer’s appointment as President of the EIB in 2012, there has been a deepening and widening of engagement between Ireland and the Bank. A joint High Level Working Group (HLWG) was established to identify concrete and flexible mechanisms to enhance the Bank’s support for Ireland’s growth agenda. The EIB and Ireland are strongly committed to working together to enhance the Bank’s activity in the country and this commitment is beginning to bear results. EIB group activity in Ireland in 2012 was almost €600m, representing an increase of over €100m in 2012 over 2011 levels and covering a diversified range of sectors and transactions. Financing for SMEs is a key part of this, and a number of Government Departments are working closely together to ensure that Ireland secures as much funding for our SMEs as possible.

Earlier this month, my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills signed a €100 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to further support the Government’s investment in school buildings. SMEs are likely to have significant involvement in these building projects.

There have also been developments in relation to non-bank funding at European level. In December 2012 the Department of Finance hosted a High-Level Workshop on Non Bank Funding of Growth and Jobs in Europe, and the report of this event is now available on the Department’s website at http://www.finance.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=7640.

Ireland is committed, during its EU Presidency and beyond, to facilitate and encourage the development of an appropriate set of policy options that will support long term financing of growth and employment in Europe, with the provision of capital to SMEs a key aspect of this. The Irish Presidency is fully supportive of the Commission’s work in this area as highlighted by the publication in March of a Green Paper on Long-Term Financing of the European Economy. The Irish Presidency ensured that the issue of long-term financing, including non-bank funding, was discussed at the Informal ECOFIN in Europe. It was agreed at the ECOFIN that the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Council would be asked to progress this issue.

Following a proposal made by the Irish Presidency, the EFC have decided to establish a High-Level Expert Group on Long-Term Finance and SMEs. This group will focus its work on concrete capital market instruments to stimulate and permanently diversify SME and mid-cap financing and the financing of infrastructure projects. It will also investigate the role of multilateral and national development/public investment institutions in catalysing private finance. The ECB, EIF and EIB are all represented on the Group. The Group will be co-chaired by John Moran, the Secretary General of my Department and Alberto Giovannini (CEO, Unifortune) and will report back in the autumn.

Tax Avoidance Issues

Questions (201)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

201. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 85 of 18 June 2013, the mandate given to the official of the Revenue Commissioners appointed to sit on the EU's tax platform and the grade of the official. [30333/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The role of the platform is as set out in recommendation 9 of the Commission's Action Plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and evasion which states: "The Commission plans to establish a Platform for Tax Good Governance composed of experts from Member States and stakeholders representatives to provide assistance in preparing its report on the application of the two Recommendations, and in its ongoing work on aggressive tax planning and good governance in tax matters." The official appointed to sit on the EU's tax platform is at Assistant Secretary grade. His role is to take an active part in the work of the platform.

Topical Issue Debate

Questions (202)

Micheál Martin

Question:

202. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance the number of Dáil topical issue debates submitted to his Department following selection by the Ceann Comhairle since March 2011; the number of topical issues taken directly by him; the number of topical issues taken by a junior Minister in his Department; the number of issues taken by a Minister not from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30341/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Eighty four topical interest debates were selected for the Department of Finance since March 2011. Of these twenty three were taken by Myself, thirty four by Minister of State Hayes and twenty seven by other Ministers/ Ministers of State .

Betting Regulations

Questions (203, 219, 220, 221, 222)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

203. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the tax income expected to be generated from the proposed legislative changes to the betting industry. [30359/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

219. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue that will be raised in 2014 by the taxing of remote bookmakers and remote betting intermediary at the 1% turnover rate and a 15% on commission charges as per the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 respectively. [30615/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

220. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue that would be raised in 2014 if remote betting intermediaries were taxed on the same basis as bookmakers that is a 1% turnover tax. [30616/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

221. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue that would be raised in 2014 in each case if remote bookmakers were taxed at a rate of 1%,2%,3%,4% and 5% of turnover. [30617/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

222. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue that would be raised in 2014 in each case if remote betting intermediaries were taxed at a rate of 1%,2%,3%,4% and 5% of turnover. [30618/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 and 219 to 222, inclusive, together.

The Finance Act 2011 provides for the taxation of bets that remote bookmakers enter into with persons in the State. This means, for example, that a business which engages in online bookmaking and which accepts bets from people in this country will be liable for betting duty on those bets, irrespective of where that business is based. The existing betting duty (1%) will be applied to such bets. The Finance Act also provides for the taxation of Betting Exchanges under the new arrangements; however the calculation of the tax will take account of their particular business model, in other words a 15% tax on the commission charged. In addition, excise duties are being applied to the granting and renewal of remote bookmakers’ and remote betting intermediaries’ licences.

The Betting (Amendment) Bill, which will establish the regulatory framework for the licensing regime, was published in July last year. Since that date work has been continuing by officials of my Department and Revenue on the drawing up of a number of amendments to the Bill to strengthen enforcement measures. It is my intention, given the number of amendments, to go back to Government in the very near future for approval to republish the Bill.

This Bill will allow for the extension of the betting duty to remote operators and will ensure that all bookmakers activities offered in the State are taxed equally. The fact that off-shore bookmakers were not subject to the betting duty represented a competitive disadvantage to on-shore firms and also narrowed the State’s yield from the duty.

It is difficult to predict with any real accuracy the yield from the taxation of remote bookmakers and betting intermediaries as it is difficult to predict how many remote operators will apply for licensing and regulation. However the estimated yield from the remote sector at the current 1% rate of turnover tax (and the 15% gross profit tax for remote betting intermediaries) is in the region of €20 million in a full year. The 2012 yield on traditional bookmakers was €27 million. Given that the calculation of the tax for remote betting intermediaries is based on a tax on the commission charged rather than a turnover tax it is difficult to estimate the overall impact on yield of an increase in the turnover tax for remote bookmakers at the rates outlined by the Deputy.

It is my intention to, in the first instance, broaden the tax base by including the remote operators. Therefore I have no plans, for now, to change the way in which remote betting intermediaries are to be taxed or to consider an increase in the betting duty on bookmakers.

European Council Meetings

Questions (204)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

204. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline the parameters of the discussions held with Ministerial colleagues at the 3248th ECOFIN Council meeting in Luxembourg on 21 June 2013; if he will detail any agreements reached; if he will provide an update on matters discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30362/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Ecofin Council met on 21st June 2013 and as Ireland holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, I as the Minister for Finance chaired the meeting. Minister of State, Brian Hayes TD represented Ireland at the meeting. The meeting was attended by representatives of all 27 EU Member States and of Croatia (which has observer status until its accession into the EU on 1st July), representatives of the Commission and the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Economic and Financial Committee and the Economic Policy Committee. The following issues were discussed.

European Semester 2013

Ministers endorsed the Commission’s Country-Specific Recommendations and Council Recommendations to Members States on their National Reform Programmes. The Council also approved a specific draft recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area member states, and draft conclusions on Croatia.

These will be discussed at the General Affairs Council and the European Council this week, and will be formally adopted at the July Ecofin.

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

The Council adopted decisions closing the excessive deficit procedures for Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania. The Council also adopted recommendations extending the deadline for correction of the excessive deficit for Spain, France Poland, Slovenia, Portugal and the Netherlands. Ecofin stepped up the excessive deficit procedure for Belgium, establishing that action taken to correct its deficit has been insufficient and giving notice to take necessary measures.

Commission/EIB report to the European Council

Ministers heard a presentation from the Commission and the EIB on a joint report to the European Council on the implementation of the EIB capital increase and on joint Commission-EIB initiatives aimed at improving financing conditions for SMEs. This report will be examined by the European Council at its meeting on 27-28 June.

Financial assistance to Ireland and Portugal

Ministers adopted decisions on the lengthening of maturities of loans to Ireland and Portugal from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM). This puts into effect the agreement reached in principle at the Informal Ecofin in Dublin in April. The average maturities are extended from 12.5 years to 19.5 years.

ECB/Commission Convergence Reports and enlargement of the euro area

Following brief presentations by the Commission and ECB of their convergence reports on Latvia, the euro area member states adopted a recommendation in favour of a Commission proposal on the adoption by Latvia of the euro on 1 January 2014. Ecofin is expected to adopt the decision at its July meeting.

Development of policy options in the climate/energy field

This issue was discussed at the request of Poland as a follow-up to the May European Council conclusions as regards energy and climate policy. Poland envisages a greater role of the Economic Policy Committee and the Economic and Financial Committee in discussions on climate and energy policy within other Council formations, to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances. The Presidency concluded that it would reflect, together with incoming Presidencies, on the next steps to prepare a discussion in the European Council next year.

Ecofin Report to the European Council on tax issues

Ministers endorsed the Ecofin Report to the European Council on tax issues. The report, which was drafted by the Irish Presidency, summarises the progress made on a wide range of tax issues during the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU .

Report by Finance Ministers on tax issues in the framework of the Euro Plus Pact

Member States who are participating in the Euro Plus Pact and who hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU are required, by the end of their Presidency term, to provide a report that covers progress made on the coordination of tax policies. The Report was endorsed by Ecofin, and will be forwarded to the European Council on 27-28 June.

Commission Proposal on Automatic Exchange of Information

The Commission presented its recently published proposal for an amendment to the Directive on Administrative Cooperation to Ecofin. This proposal seeks to broaden the list of categories which are subject to automatic exchange of information within the EU. Ministers held a brief exchange of views, and called on the Working Party on Tax Questions to start technical work on the proposal.

Bank Recovery and Resolution

The proposed Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (‘BRRD’) provides for a common framework of rules and powers to assist EU countries manage arrangements to deal with failing banks at national level as well as cross-border banks. The main political issues discussed at Ecofin related to the bail-in and financing elements of the BRRD proposal which have been extensively discussed at Coreper on a number of occasions and at Ecofin on 14 May. A related issue was the point at which resolution funds can be called on to cover losses and the extent of write-down that must be applied to creditors before this can happen. The meeting was adjourned and will resume on Wednesday 26th June to continue discussion on the BRRD proposal when it is hoped agreement amongst Ministers can be reached. In the meantime, intensive high level discussions are underway between the Presidency and Member States to try to progress issues before the resumption of Ecofin on Wednesday.

Other business – Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive

The Presidency updated the Council on the state of play on a draft directive on deposit guarantee schemes. The aim of the proposed Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) Directive, a recast of the 2010 DGS Directive, is to significantly enhance depositors’ confidence by introducing faster pay-out and more credible funding of the various Deposit Guarantee Schemes. This proposal forms part of the Banking Union Proposals. It proposes to simplify and harmonise the current DGS Directive. It looks at the scope of the coverage and arrangements for pay-out; optional mutual borrowing among Deposit Guarantee Schemes in certain circumstances, the introduction of an information template and better access to information for depositors.

Over breakfast on the morning of 21 June, Ministers were debriefed on the outcome of the Eurogroup meeting the day before and they then had a discussion on the economic situation.

The agenda for the Ecofin meeting on 21 June was a full one and a great deal of progress was achieved. I look forward to reaching agreement on the BRRD at the resumed Ecofin tomorrow.

NAMA Staff Issues

Questions (205)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

205. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if any staff have left the National Asset Management Agency since January 2013 to date; and the number of those staff that have moved into private sector employment. [30474/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

All NAMA staff are employees of the NTMA. The NTMA advises that six staff assigned to NAMA have left the Agency since January 2013. The NTMA understands that five of these staff have taken up employment in the private sector.