I had explained why I was not accepting the amendment, but I also received some queries. Deputy Brady spoke about fuel allowances. Simply, the overlapping provisions included in the convention replicate the current arrangements and reflect the general rule that a person should not receive two payments in two jurisdictions. That issue needed to be addressed in the legislation. There is no provision in the convention or the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill which will change the existing practices in the making of fuel allowance or other payments. All of the current arrangements will stand. I think the Deputy was under the impression that somehow we had changed something. I confirm that all existing payments and the current arrangements will continue.
In respect of the Department of Work and Pensions' winter fuel repayment, it is an annual tax repayment made to eligible people to help towards meeting their winter heating costs. In most cases it is a lump sum payment of between £100 and £300 and paid automatically in November and December. Since the winter of 2012-13, people living in the EEA or Switzerland who have a genuine and sufficient link with the United Kingdom have potentially been eligible to receive the winter fuel payment, regardless of whether they previously had an entitlement to receive it. Obviously, that still stands.
Deputy O'Dea asked why the draft heads, as published, were different. They were intended to provide the power to make regulations to deal with a range of issues such as the treatment of events or facts occurring in the United Kingdom; the taking into account of social insurance contributions paid in the United Kingdom; the habitual residence condition; the avoidance of multiple payments; arrangements regarding absence from the state; arrangements for frontier workers where the frontier crossed will be between the United Kingdom and Ireland; the exchange of information; and the arrangements to ensure the maintenance of current payments vis-à-vis the United Kingdom and where the current arrangements governed by EU regulations are more expansive than the existing bilateral arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
As the drafting process progressed, the construction of the amendments changed significantly, although the overall aim and ambition remained exactly the same. In particular, a more streamlined approach was adopted based on the strong advice of the Office of the Attorney General which will effectively allow me to treat the agreement we signed on 1 February as if ratification had occurred in the event that ratification has not been completed by the United Kingdom by 29 March. An order has also been drafted to give effect to this provision, if required. This is an unusual provision, but it is possible to make it because the agreements have been signed and the United Kingdom has retained the provisions of the relevant European regulations in its domestic legislation. As a result, most of the provisions originally envisaged and as set out in the heads of the Bill are not required, but we will all achieve the same aims. Obviously, regulations will need to be placed before the House. The Deputy asked me if the same was true of the order. The order will only give effect to the convention which has been approved by the House.
The Deputy also asked me about our interactions with other EU member states. All other EU member states are covered by the EU Regulation No. 883 which will continue to apply.
The Deputy asked if pensioners in Ireland would continue to receive their UK pension payments into their bank accounts. We make payments to pensioners who reside outside the European Union and the EEA into their bank accounts and will continue to do so. The United Kingdom is currently part of the geographical scope of the single euro payments area, SEPA, scheme owing to its EU membership. It facilitates the payment of UK pensions into Irish bank accounts and that will continue. As the geographical scope of the SEPA scheme already extends beyond the European Union and the EEA, including to several third countries and territories, the option remains that the United Kingdom will continue to be included in the scope of the SEPA scheme, provided it fulfils the eligibility criteria. I genuinely expect it to continue to operate under the SEPA scheme.
Deputy O'Dea asked me for a list of schemes that will fall under the reciprocal arrangements. They are the contributory State pension; carer's benefit; health and safety benefit; illness benefit; treatment benefits; adoptive benefit; maternity benefit; paternity benefit; invalidity pension; partial capacity benefit; widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner's contributory pension; contributory guardian's payment; occupational injuries benefit; widow's or surviving civil partner's grant; jobseeker's benefit; child benefit; the back-to-work family dividend; non-contributory guardian's payment; domiciliary care allowance; one-parent family payment; and working family payment. For every scheme available in both countries today, our ambition is to provide for continuity after 29 March.