Capital Programme Expenditure

Questions (125)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

125. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the capital spend by his Department for each year since 2009; and the capital allocation to his Department in budget 2014. [45394/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Exchequer capital funding is primarily expended through various agencies under the remit of my Department, including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Shannon Development, Inter Trade Ireland, INTERREG, the National Standards Authority of Ireland, and the 35 City and County Enterprise Boards. Capital funding has also been allocated for expenditure by my Department in 2013 in respect of the Temporary Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Tyndall National Institute and, via the Higher Education Authority, for the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions.

The table below sets out the Department's capital expenditure for the period 2009 to 2012 inclusive.

Year

Total spend

Including Carryover provision

2009

€497.864m

€18.326m

2010

€484.194m

€6.440m

2011

€486.898m

-

2012

€482.158m

€18.125m

The capital expenditure for the period January to the end of September 2013 was €266.71m which is broadly in line with the profiled amount. The 2013 allocation also includes €25m carryover provision this year.

The initial 2014 capital provision for the Department, as set out in the 2014 Expenditure Report, is €442m. It is anticipated that the 2014 capital provision will be further enhanced by a capital carryover provision through the Revised Estimates Volume in the coming weeks. Plus through the provision secured by DJEI agencies to use our resource income for additional capital investment purposes.

Insolvency Payments Scheme Payments

Questions (126)

Finian McGrath

Question:

126. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding an award under the Unfair Dismissals Act in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17. [45427/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

There are two significant issues that arise in this case. Firstly the matter of seeking to enforce the payment of an award made by one of the employment rights bodies and secondly on this not succeeding, the potential to have recourse to the Insolvency Payments Scheme for payment arising from that award. I am fully aware of the difficulties that are being experienced by the individual in this case who has had an award made in her favour and yet continues to be unable to receive the payment due. This particular matter is currently being examined in detail in my Department in consultation with the Department of Social Protection.

Where an employer is legally insolvent (liquidation, receivership, bankruptcy etc.) the employee may be entitled to seek redress from the State under the Insolvency Payments Scheme which is operated by my colleague, the Minister for Social Protection. I am aware that there are some cases including the present case, where employers have ceased trading without engaging in a formal insolvency or winding-up process and where the company may have closed owing certain payments or statutory awards to its former employees. Whilst it will not be possible to address the issue of so-called 'informal insolvency' through the workplace relations reforms which I have commenced, as it raises issues concerning insolvency law and the operation of the Insolvency Payments Scheme, I am informed by the Minister for Social Protection that the legislative position with regard to these types of situations is currently being reviewed by her Department with a view to establishing what, if anything, can be done to progress payments to individuals where no liquidator or receiver has been appointed.

Any queries concerning such issues under the Insolvency Payments Scheme including policy, are fully within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D and should be made directly to her.

Research and Development Funding

Questions (127)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

127. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the multiple independent procurements of research grant management software by agencies under the control of his Department and the total cost to the taxpayer of these systems; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the same supplier has supplied all but one of these systems and that all are compliant with EU Commission standards on the exchange of research information and are all capable of being integrated into one grant management system as has been done in the US and the UK with the consequent savings that produces; the reason despite the existence of a national research platform report, no progress has been made on the implementation of an integrated national research platform; if his attention has been drawn to the consequent diversion of resources in research bodies, HEs, and others to the management of these multiple systems and away from the proper good governance of public resources spent on research. [45564/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The relevant enterprise agencies under the remit of my Department are Enterprise Ireland (EI), IDA Ireland (IDA) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). These are independent agencies, each with their respective statutory functions, governance and management structures. Accordingly, procurement is a day-to-day operational matter for the agencies and for their respective Accounting Officers and not one in which I have a function.

Each of the agencies operates a payments / accounting system for research funding. I have been informed that SFI and EI operate a research funding payments / accounting system that operates on the same platform and was supplied by the same vendor following separate tendering procedures undertaken by the agencies. IDA Ireland operates a different system provided by another vendor.

My understanding is that because of the distinct mandates, different types of grants and a client base that can be variable, each system is highly configured and customised to meet the individual needs of each agency. To the extent that there are synergies and common issues that can be jointly addressed, both SFI and EI, along with other research funding agencies using the same research payments/accounting system, have joined to create a user group which allows them to come together to explore ways to optimise their use of the system. This would be a common approach across the Civil and wider Public Service (e.g. Local Authorities and Government Departments that use the same payroll software etc.).

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (128)

Seán Fleming

Question:

128. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the expenditure adjustment that will be made within his Department in 2014; the full-year impact of expenditure measures that will be taken in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45587/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The net Exchequer provision as published in the Expenditure Report 2014 is €732.07 million. This allocation will ensure that my Department and its agencies will continue to deliver a full suite of programmes of activity and supports in respect of the 3 Programme Areas of Jobs and Enterprise; Innovation; and Regulation, at a further reduced cost to the taxpayer. It will also help to ensure that the Government maintains its adherence to the EU/IMF Consolidation Programme and return the public finances to a sound footing.

In line with commitments under the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, my Department and its Agencies will deliver over €13m in efficiency savings in respect of 2014. This significant level of savings comes in addition to savings that are being delivered under the Haddington Road Agreement, as well as various items of expenditure no longer included in my Department's Estimate in 2014, such as costs associated with Ireland's Presidency of the EU.

These savings will be delivered at the Departmental level through administrative efficiency measures and changes to business processes. Further savings will also be delivered by the Agencies under the aegis of my Department through administrative and operational efficiencies, rationalisation measures and reprioritisation of spending in respect of a number of projects.

The 2014 funding provision will enable the Department and agencies to provide continued supports for the full range of vital job measures that have proved instrumental in turning around the jobs market and getting growth into the economy over the past two years, such as:

- Delivery of measures under Action Plan for Jobs 2014.

- IDA will target approximately 12,000 new jobs in 2014 whilst maintaining supports to its client base which currently employs over 260,000 people in Ireland.

- Enterprise Ireland will target 12,000 new jobs and generate €17.5billion in exports. The Agency will also support 95 new High Potential Start-Up companies with commitments to create 2,100 new jobs.

- Over €300 million in research and innovation funding supports through Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the Higher Education Authority, Tyndall National Institute and Ireland's participation in the European Space Agency. These supports will leverage well in excess of €100 million in research funding to Ireland from non-exchequer sources next year from the likes of the EU and industry partners.

- An additional €3.5 million in supports for business start-ups and entrepreneurial supports by Enterprise Ireland through the County Enterprise Boards/Local Enterprise Offices network in 2014.

In conclusion, I am satisfied that the provision in the 2014 Expenditure Report, enhanced by any additional provision accruing from the carryover of capital savings in 2013, will ensure that the requisite supports are in place in my Department to continue the work in turning around the jobs market and returning growth to the economy.

Regional Aid

Questions (129)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

129. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if County Kerry will be a priority county for regional aid from 2014; the efforts he is making to secure this status for County Kerry; the benefits that would accrue to County Kerry compared with the status quo; when he expects to be able to announce the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45599/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Regional Aid Guidelines enable the State's industrial development agencies to pay grants, at enhanced rates, to businesses in order to support new investment and new employment in productive projects in Ireland's most disadvantaged regions. This helps the convergence of these regions with the more advantaged regions of the Union. All such grants come from the exchequer, i.e. there is no EU or other external funding.

The new guidelines were adopted by the Commission on 19 June 2013, and will enter into force on 1 July 2014. As a result, the current guidelines that were due to expire at the end of this year are to be extended for a six month transition period.

During the Regional Aid Guideline process thus far, my Department has consulted relevant stakeholders including various Government Departments, the industrial development agencies, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Forfás, the Central Statistics Office, the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly, the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly, and the eight Regional Authorities, and this consultation is ongoing.

The initial Regional Aid Guidelines proposal from the Commission, published in May 2012, presented significant challenges for Ireland, in that they proposed a complete ban on aid to large enterprises in all but the most disadvantaged 'A' regions. All Irish regions are classified as 'C' regions, meaning that they are also disadvantaged, but to a lesser extent than 'A' areas. Following sustained engagement with the Commission and likeminded Member States a compromise was agreed with the Commission that will allow Member States to provide investment aid to large enterprises for new economic activities and diversification of existing enterprises into new products or new process innovation.

As things stand, Kerry qualifies for regional investment aid for SMEs under the current 2007-2013 Regional Aid Map, at a rate of 20% for medium sized companies (50 to 249 employees) and 30% for small companies (under 50 employees). Since January 2009, Kerry no longer qualifies for regional aid for investment projects by large companies. Under the 2014-2020 Guidelines, if Kerry, or any other Irish region, was to be designated, aid to all categories of companies would be allowed. The rates for SME's would be the same as those 2007-2013 rates listed above. The rates for investment by large companies would be 10% for certain activities only.

My officials are currently compiling the most up to date economic data for each county in order to determine which counties will qualify for inclusion in a revised Regional Aid Map for Ireland. Relevant data includes comparative unemployment levels and GDP by county. Once this data has been compiled and analysed, qualifying regions up to a maximum of 51.28% of the total population will be included in the new map. This must be agreed by Government and submitted to the Commission by the end of June, 2014.

Social Insurance Yield

Questions (130)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

130. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the revenue accrued from PRSI contributions in each year since 2007. [45497/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Social Insurance Fund PRSI Income from 2007 to 2012

Year

€'000

2007

7,722,010

2008

7,984,182

2009

7,164,606

2010

6,708,018

2011

7,426,480

2012

6,786,340

Treatment Benefit Scheme Eligibility

Questions (131)

Jack Wall

Question:

131. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will qualify for assistance with a hearing aid; or if there is any other assistance with such an important matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45342/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department's treatment benefit scheme, of which the hearing aid grant is an element, is based on PRSI contributions paid. Only PRSI paid at classes A, E, H, or P count towards qualification for the benefit. There are two rules that must be met in order for a person to qualify, for claims made in 2013, the person claiming must have:

1. At least 260 qualifying contributions paid since first starting work, and

2. At least 39 qualifying contributions paid or credited in 2011 (or, for anyone aged over 60, in the Governing Contribution Year at the time they turned 60 – in this case, 2006).

While the person referred to, satisfies condition 1, the contributions paid in the relevant tax years 2006 and 2011 are recorded as Class S contributions. Class S contributions are self-employed contributions, which are paid at a reduced rate and do not count for qualification towards treatment benefit. As a result the person concerned is not currently eligible for treatment benefit.

The person referred should contact his local HSE office, as the HSE also operate an audiological scheme and they will be able to advise him of any entitlement he may have under that scheme.

Question No. 132 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (133)

Finian McGrath

Question:

133. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason the family of a child (details supplied) in Dublin 17 with a recognised disability was refused carer's allowance and domiciliary care allowance. [45360/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 3 October 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Fuel Allowance Eligibility

Questions (134)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

134. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Social Protection the steps she will take to assess eligibility for fuel allowance in respect of persons here who are receiving the UK winter fuel payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45397/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

In 2013, my Department will spend an estimated €211 million on the fuel allowance scheme, providing some 410,000 customers with an additional weekly payment of €20 during the winter.

The United Kingdom winter fuel payment is an annual lump sum payment made to eligible people to help towards their winter heating costs. It ranges from £100-£300 sterling. Until recently, only a small number of people living in Ireland (just over 7,000 in 2012) were in receipt of the payment as eligibility had to be shown while living in the UK and before moving to Ireland. Following a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice, eligibility has been extended to people living outside the UK who have a "genuine and sufficient link" to the UK social security system. It is expected that more people living in Ireland may become eligible for the UK payment.

As the fuel allowance scheme in Ireland is a means tested payment, which is paid on the basis that an applicant is unable to provide for his or her own heating needs, the Department would need to take account of the UK payment when determining eligibility. This process involved is under consideration.