I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 203 together.
When considering the introduction or extension of any tax relief, I must be mindful of the public finances and the many demands on the Exchequer. Tax reliefs, no matter how worthwhile in themselves, lead to a narrowing of the tax base. Under my Department's Tax Expenditure Guidelines, the introduction of new tax incentive measures, or the continuation of measures which are due to terminate, should only be considered in circumstances where there is a demonstrable market failure and where a tax based incentive is more efficient than a direct expenditure intervention.
However, the issues raised in the Deputy's questions are matters that would fall to be considered in the context of the Budget and Finance Bill process, and, as she will appreciate, with three weeks to go to Budget day, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on them at this time.