Banking Sector Data

Questions (188)

Michael McGrath

Question:

188. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the latest non-performing loan to gross loan percentage for PDH and BTL mortgages, respectively, for each of the State supported banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9995/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the deputy is aware neither AIB or PTSB have as yet reported their results for the full year 2017. However as at the 30th June 2017 the non performing loan ratio for each of the banks, based on the EBA definition of non-performing exposures, was AIB 18.9% and PTSB 28%. Based on the narrower definition of impaired loans, AIB also reported a ratio of 12.2%.

Fuel Sales

Questions (189, 190)

Michael McGrath

Question:

189. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the VAT and carbon tax rates and rules on the sale of solid fuels here; the way in which they differ to the rates and rules in Northern Ireland; his views on whether persons here are purchasing large amounts of solid fuel from suppliers in Northern Ireland as a result of the differences; the amount of solid fuels sold over the Border in 2017, by tonne and value; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9996/18]

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Michael McGrath

Question:

190. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the level of co-operation between the Revenue Commissioners and the tax authorities in Northern Ireland; the mechanisms in place to deal with potential tax compliance issues in either jurisdiction; if the Revenue Commissioners and the tax authorities in Northern Ireland have consulted with each other in relation to potential compliance issues with VAT, carbon tax and the sale of hard fuels between both jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9997/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 and 190 together.

Carbon tax is a charge on fossil fuels based on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from the fuel on combustion.  When first introduced in Budget 2010 the tax applied to certain oil and gas fuels used for motor or heating purposes and was charged at a rate of €15 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted from the fuel concerned.  In 2013 a carbon tax on solid fuels was introduced at an initial rate of €10 per tonne.  In 2014, the rate for all carbon charges was increased to €20 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted.

The application of Carbon tax on solid fuel was delayed until 2013 to allow for the introduction of a regulatory framework covering the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of solid fuels in the State and setting out particular environmental standards for coal supplied in the State. This framework was required to counter potential large scale sourcing of coal from Northern Ireland, where lower sulphur standards apply.  

Since its introduction in 2010 to the end of 2017, Carbon tax receipts amounted to almost €2.9bn.   These figures include receipts from Solid Fuel Carbon tax of €91.6m from 2013 to 2017. Further information on Carbon tax receipts is published on the Revenue statistics website at:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/excise/receipts-volume-and-proce/excise-receipts-commodity.aspx.

The current VAT rate on solid fuel in the State is 13.5%. The rate of VAT on solid fuel in Northern Ireland is currently 5%.  There is not, at present, a comparable carbon tax regime in place in Northern Ireland.   Based on the current rate of Carbon Tax in this State of €20 per tonne of CO2 emitted, the specific rates for Solid Fuel Carbon Tax are as follows:

Coal: €52.67 per tonne

Peat: €36.67 per tonne (peat briquettes)

€17.99 per tonne (milled peat)

€27.25 per tonne (other peat)

Certain solid fuels, primarily coal, are regulated under the Air Pollution Act (Marketing, Sale, Distribution and Burning of Specified Fuels Regulations) 2012 (SI No. 326 of 2012), as amended.  These Regulations are enforced and applied by local authorities under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. 

The following aspects of the Solid Fuel Carbon Tax should be noted:

- Solid Fuel Carbon Tax is payable by a taxable person who makes a first supply of solid fuel in the State;

- every supplier who intends to make a first supply of solid fuel in the State must register with Revenue for the purposes of the tax;

- liability to Solid Fuel Carbon Tax does not arise on the physical presence of the goods in the territory of the State, but on supply in the State by the taxable person who is obliged to make a return and pay the tax one month after the two-month accounting period;

- a supplier based outside of the State who brings solid fuel into the State for sale direct to the public, must register for SFCT with Revenue;

- the tax is not payable by private individuals travelling to the North to collect solid fuel for their personal consumption, provided the private individual accompanies the fuel back into the State;

- persons extracting peat in this State for their own use and not for supply are not liable to SFCT tax and are not required to register with Revenue.

The Solid Fuel Carbon Tax is applied using Revenue’s standard model of self assessment with liable taxpayers subject to the possibility of Revenue audit of Solid Fuel Carbon tax returns.  It is important to note that European Union Single Market constraints preclude the use of any cross-border movement controls in the administration of this tax.  Under EU law, the tax cannot give rise to trade restrictions or intra-EU formalities.  While Revenue has no authority to stop vehicles and physically inspect loads of solid fuel, such authority would not be relevant from the point of view of enforcing Solid Fuel Carbon Tax, given that liability does not arise on the physical presence of the goods in the territory of the State.  Liability arises on the first supply of the solid fuel in the State by the taxable person who is obliged to make a return and pay the tax one month after expiry of the two – month accounting period.  This means that collection of the tax is heavily reliant on the regulatory regime for sales of certain solid fuels operated by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and enforced by local authorities.  I understand that there is ongoing contact between Revenue and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in relation to this area.

Data is not available on the amount of solid fuel sold between Northern Ireland and this State. 

The serious threat that fiscal fraud poses to legitimate business, to consumers and the Exchequer is recognised and I am advised by Revenue that tackling this criminal activity has been one of its priorities over recent years.  There is extensive formal and informal cooperation in place between Revenue and the UK tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which is the responsible tax authority in Northern Ireland.  Where appropriate, this also includes An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.  The aim of this cooperation is to target the organised crime groups responsible for a large proportion of criminal activity, including activities aimed at combatting fiscal fraud as it relates to a range of excisable products such as mineral oils, tobacco products and alcohol.  The setting up in 2016, within the framework of “A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan”, of a Joint Agency Task Force, which includes Revenue as well as An Garda Síochána and their Northern Ireland counterparts was a further step in supporting and facilitating such cross border cooperation. 

Mutual Assistance procedures are also in place in both Revenue and HMRC which can support specific compliance interventions (including audits) relating to the tax affairs of any specific person.

I am advised that there has not, to date, been specific consultation between Revenue and HMRC in relation to the carbon tax and VAT aspects of the solid fuel sector.  In this regard it should be noted that there is not, at present, a comparable carbon tax regime in place in Northern Ireland for the sale of solid fuels.

Revenue also works in close cooperation with the relevant authorities in other jurisdictions, the European Anti-Fraud Office, and other international bodies and agencies in the ongoing programmes of action at international level to combat both the illicit fuel and tobacco trades.

Departmental Meetings

Questions (191)

Clare Daly

Question:

191. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the number of times he or representatives from his Department have met with an organisation (details supplied) in 2016 and 2017. [10032/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In response to the Deputy's question, the number of times that I, Ministers of State of the Department, or representatives from my Department have met with IBEC are 8 in 2016 and 9 in 2017.

Stamp Duty

Question No. 193 answered with Question No. 173.

Questions (192)

Noel Grealish

Question:

192. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance the rate of stamp duty payable in a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10125/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the rate of Stamp Duty applicable to the case in question is 6%.

The transitional arrangements from the previous 2% rate to the 6% rate as set out in the 2017 Finance Bill only apply in situations where there was a binding contact in place prior to 10 October 2017.

While the property in question was subject to an offer to purchase, there was no binding contact in place prior to 10 October 2017. As a consequence, the sale did not qualify for the 2% rate.

Question No. 193 answered with Question No. 173.

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (194)

Jack Chambers

Question:

194. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of and timeframe for the restoration of pensions for retired civil and public servants whose pensions are tied to serving officers pay (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9333/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

On 1 January 2018, public service pensions impacted by the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) qualified for an effective increase by way of a lessening or amelioration of PSPR, as required under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015. I understand that such increases have, in general, been implemented through pension payrolls across the various public service sectors.  

Separate from these PSPR-based adjustments, some public service pensions qualify to be increased on foot of the 1% public service pay increase which took place on 1 January 2018.

That pay increase is one of a series of basic pay increases over the period 2018-2020 set out in the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 and the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) 2018-2020. Those pay increases, including the 1% on 1 January 2018, will apply to qualifying public service pensions insofar as that is in line with the public service pensions increase policy adopted by Government for the period to end-2020 and set out in paragraph 6.2 of the PSSA 2018-2020. The relevant pension increases will be effective from the same dates as the pay increases.

My Department issued a circular on 29 January 2018, DPER Circular 02/2018, which authorises and gives guidance in relation to the application to qualifying pensions of these pay increases, including the 1% pay increase on 1 January 2018. Any pensions which are due to be increased on foot of the January 2018 pay increase, and have not yet been adjusted, should have that increase applied shortly, including arrears due to the start of the year.

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (195)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

195. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason a person (details supplied) is on a reduced pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9507/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Deputy will be aware that my responsibility extends to the Civil Service Pension Scheme only. I can confirm that the individual in question was employed for two periods in the civil service: from 1959 to 1966, when she stopped working at the time of her marriage, and then from 1992, on her reinstatement to the civil service, until her retirement in 2007. Some of the latter period included short periods of job-sharing service.

As the individual refunded the marriage gratuity she had been paid, both periods of service were included in her reckonable pensionable service, which amounted to just over 21 years and four months. I have been advised that her civil service pension was calculated correctly having regard to the amount of her final pensionable remuneration and the period of service given.

If the Deputy’s concern relates instead to the individual’s social insurance pension entitlements, I would advise him to direct his enquiry to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Freedom of Information Remit

Questions (196)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

196. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if organisations (details supplied) are covered by the Freedom of Information Act 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9549/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Garda Stations

Questions (197, 199)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

197. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the acquisition and selection of a site for the new Garda regional headquarters in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9734/18]

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Marc MacSharry

Question:

199. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the acquisition of the site for the new Sligo Garda station; the timeframe for tendering for the construction of the new station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9827/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 and 199 together.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) continues to progress the procurement of a suitable site for the new Garda Station in Sligo. The legal formalities are nearing completion.

Delivery of the proposed Regional Headquarters is to be provided under a Public Private Partnership. A timeframe for construction is not available as yet.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 197.

Questions (198)

Bríd Smith

Question:

198. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated cost of the refurbishment of the Stepaside Garda station; and the timeframe for its opening. [9737/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Following the Programme for Government commitment to establish a pilot scheme to reopen six (6) Garda Stations, The Office of Public Works (OPW) has now received a "brief of requirements" from An Garda Síochána for the re-opening of Stepaside Garda Station. The OPW can now carry out the necessary surveys and assessments on the building and prepare indicative cost estimates for any works identified.

At this early stage in the process it is not possible to provide an estimate of the costs nor time-frame for its re-opening.

Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 197.

Data Sharing Arrangements

Questions (200)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

200. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the State has been involved, either directly or indirectly, in data mining; if the State plans to package and sell data once the Data Protection Bill 2018 has commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9862/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Analysis of data is a component element of public policy development and evaluation and State organisations use different analysis methods to achieve this. These analyses are carried out in line with all relevant legislation including that relating to Data Protection.

While certain data held by the State is made available commercially, over 5,000 data sets are freely available on the Open Data portal data.gov.ie. This is in line with The Open Data Strategy 2017-2022, which was published last year. Two core objectives of the Strategy include the publication of high value government data in open format, making it publicly available and freely reusable; and engaging with a broad community of stakeholders to promote its social and economic benefits.

In relation to my own Department, there are no plans to package and sell data.