National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages

Amendments Nos. 1 to 10, inclusive, not moved.

Amendment No. 11 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 11 not moved.
Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 not moved.
Bill received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I welcome the imminent passage of this legislation, which is very important in terms of the prudent management of the public finances. This is a proposal that Fianna Fáil initially made in outline form in 2015. I am glad that it has been fleshed out and embraced by the Government and that this contingency fund, colloquially known as a rainy-day fund, will be established. Our corporation tax receipts in particular are booming, with approximately €10.5 billion collected last year and a similarly strong performance expected again this year. However, there are many changes coming down the track, not least international changes with regard to how corporation tax is treated via the OECD process, etc. There are many threats on that front. Generally speaking, there is a significant risk that we will face economic headwinds in the period ahead. We have had a good run but that may not necessarily continue, so we do need to have a buffer in place that we can call upon in the event that we need it.

Fianna Fáil welcomes that this legislation will become the law of the land. If the Minister of State has any details regarding the logistics in terms of when the fund will be put in place, when it will be operational and where we go from here he might share them with the House. The putting in place of this fund is an important step, one that is supported by many of the international and domestic organisations, including the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. I look forward to hearing what the Minister of State has to say.

This Bill is an important tool in terms of the counter-cyclical methodology that is required to deal with where we are today. Fiscally, we have strong, robust taxes coming in, which is important.

Deputy Michael McGrath mentioned the corporate tax rate. I always mention that the income tax take has doubled in the past seven years. It is crucial that we take the opportunity when taxes are buoyant, as they currently are, to set some moneys aside. The amount involved here is small in the greater scheme of things, namely, less than 1% of what is coming in overall. However, we may need that money in the future. Hopefully, it will not be required but we can set it aside and use it.

I do not have a start-up date. I appreciate this initiative was first considered in 2015. I will try to get the Deputy a detailed note about the speed of the implementation of the fund and the details in that regard.

Question put and agreed to.