Tax Yield

Ceisteanna (73, 74)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

73. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the yield from DIRT in 2017; the forecasted yield in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20533/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

74. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the yield from life assurance exit tax in 2017; the forecasted yield in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20534/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 and 74 together.

I am advised by Revenue that net receipts for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) and Life Assurance Exit Tax (LAET) in 2017 are published in Table 2 of Revenue’s Annual Report for 2017, available at https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/annual-report/2017/ar-2017.pdf.

My Department has forecast DIRT receipts for 2018 to be in the region of €117 million. Revenue have advised that LAET is expected to yield an estimated €180 million in 2018.

Tax Yield

Ceisteanna (75, 76, 77)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

75. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the bookmakers' excise licence increased from €500 to €635; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20541/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

76. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the licence for an amusement licence for a period not exceeding three months increased from €38 to €55; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20542/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

77. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the licence for an amusement machine for 12 months increased from €125 to €170; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20543/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.

In regard to Question 20541/18, Revenue has advised me that 328 Bookmakers Licences were issued for the 2015 to 2017 licensing period, which ended on 30 November 2017. The total Excise Licence Duty payable for these licences was €164,000 (€500 x 328).  If the Excise Licence Duty fee had been €635 for the two year period, the total Excise Licence Duty payable would have amounted to €208,280. 

In regard to Question 20542/18, Revenue has advised me that 176 Amusement Licences, for a period not exceeding three months, issued during 2017. The total Excise Licence Duty payable for these licences was €6,688 (€38 x 176). If the Excise Licence Duty fee had been €55 for 2017, the total Excise Licence Duty payable would have amounted to €9,680.

In regard to Question 20543/18, Revenue has advised me that 8,728 Amusement Licences issued for twelve month periods during 2017. The total Excise Licence Duty payable for these licences was €1,091,000 (€125 x 8,728). If the Excise Licence Duty fee had been €170 for 2017, the total Excise Licence Duty payable would have amounted to €1,483,760.

Tax Yield

Ceisteanna (78)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

78. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the projected revenue to be generated from the introduction of the sugar sweetened drinks tax for 2018 and subsequent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20545/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

It is extremely difficult to estimate the potential revenue generated for the Exchequer from the sugar-sweetened drinks tax due to continued industry reformulation resulting in reduced sugar levels in relevant products. However, it is estimated that the tax will yield in the region of €27m in 2018 and €40m in a full year.

It is hoped that the tax will help tackle obesity by providing incentives to reduce the sugar content in relevant products, and ultimately to reduce sugar consumption by citizens. Therefore revenues generated from this tax may decrease over time.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (79)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

79. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the historical mechanisms used to hypothecate funding from a tax for specific purposes; the details of previous taxes or levies in tax history that have been ring-fenced for a specific purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20546/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Hypothecation involves linking specific expenditure to an explicit revenue source and the Deputy will be aware that it is not a feature of the Irish tax system in general. It is only used in limited circumstances where there is a strong justification because it can cause difficulties for the efficient and effective management of the public finances. Furthermore, it also exposes specific expenditure dependent solely on a hypothecated revenue to any volatility associated with the revenue source in question. The Department of Finance is generally opposed to the hypothecation of revenue funds as it reduces the flexibility of the Government to prioritise and allocate funds as necessary at a particular time. Taxation and expenditure decisions should be driven by their overall effectiveness in line with sound and sustainable budgetary principles. Accordingly, ring-fencing revenues may constrain expenditure decisions and can distort the allocation of resources resulting in reduced value for money. It is often argued that hypothecation may increase public support for new or existing taxes though linking the tax or charge to a specific objective and by ring-fencing the revenues that arise from the charge for a number of specific purposes. However, the tax base can be volatile and/or erode over time - particularly in the case of health or environmental taxes designed to prompt behavioural change.

Nonetheless there are a number of instances where an approach of this nature has been adopted. The Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible within the format of a single PQ reply to list all previous taxes or levies in tax history that have been ring-fenced for a specific purpose. Relevant examples related to my Department are listed below, however it should be noted that not all of these would strictly meet the definition of “tax”:

- The Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI). This charge is collected by the Revenue Commissioners and used to fund the Social Insurance Fund which is administered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection which pays for various social welfare benefits and pensions. 0.8% of certain employer PRSI contributions goes to the National Training Fund, another separate fund that is available to the Department of Education for higher education and further education and training.

- Section 157 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, as amended, provides for the Minister for Finance to pay from the Central Fund into the Local Government Fund (‘LGF’) an amount equivalent to the local property tax paid into the Central Fund during the financial years 2014 to 2017.  Following the enactment of the Water Services Act 2017, the Revenue Commissioners are now required to pay directly into the LGF an amount equivalent to the local property tax received by them, commencing with the year 2018. These accounting mechanisms are not strictly a form of hypothecation, as while the legislation specifies where the LPT funds are to be transferred, local authorities retain discretion as to how their LPT allocation is spent. The only exception to this applies to those local authorities that receive a greater level of LPT funding than was previously allocated in the form of general purpose grants. Those authorities, of which there are nine, are required to use a portion of their LPT funding to self-fund certain housing and roads programmes in lieu of exchequer funding.

- The community rated private health insurance system is underpinned by the Risk Equalisation Scheme. The Scheme involves a community rating levy collected as a stamp duty by the Revenue Commissioners from insurers in respect of all health policies written. All of the monies collected are paid over to the Risk Equalisation Fund administered by the independent regulator - the Health Insurance Authority. The Authority then redistributes the fund back to the market through credits payable to insurers in respect of insured lives to offset some of the additional cost of insuring older and less healthy members. The Scheme is Exchequer neutral, neither a cost nor a benefit to the State.

- €168 million of the Tobacco Products Tax has been paid as an Appropriation-in-Aid to the Department of Health since Budget 1999.

- Motor Tax was paid into the Local Government Fund (this was the case up until end 2017, motor tax is now brought to account in the Exchequer).

- Section 12 of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001 provided that the Horse and Greyhound Fund would each year be financed by an amount equal to the revenue from excise duty on off-course betting in the preceding year or the year 2000 funding levels increased by reference to the Consumer Price Index, whichever was greater. This formula applied for the years 2001-2008. However since 2009, the level by which the Fund is to be increased has been decided by the Minister for Agriculture.

- The Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) was established under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, in order to provide a certain minimum level of protection for policyholders particularly where an insurer goes into liquidation. In essence the ICF is a consumer protection mechanism which is also found in Member States across the EU and elsewhere. The ICF is currently maintained and administered under the control of the President of the High Court acting through the Accountant of the Courts of Justice. The ICF is funded by a levy on non-life insurance policies. There are some exclusions to this such as health and marine insurance policies. The current ICF levy has been in place since it was re-introduced on January 1st 2012 and was put in place because of the insolvent nature of Quinn Insurance and the need to protect the policyholders of the company. Prior to its re-introduction, the levy was applied once before, between 1984 and 1993, to meet the liabilities of an insolvent insurer following the collapse of PMPA. On the 4th November 2011 the Central Bank of Ireland published a levy notice requiring non-life insurance companies to pay a 2% levy on insurance premiums in respect of new business and renewals with an inception date on or after 1st January 2012. This notice remains in force until amended by a further notice. The 2% levy is calculated as a percentage determined by the Bank based on the aggregate of the gross premiums paid to insurers in respect of policies issued in relation to risks in the State. The current ICF levy generates in the region of €70 million per year. To date, the Exchequer has advanced in excess of €1 billion to the ICF on which a commercial rate of interest is applied.  Until all advances outstanding from the Exchequer to the ICF are fully repaid, continued financial support for the ICF in the form of a levy will be required.

- Lighthouse dues are collected by Revenue (€6m in 2017) and sent to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

- For the environmental levy on plastic bags – provided for under Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment legislation – Revenue collected €7m in 2017.

Knowledge Development Box

Ceisteanna (80)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

80. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of SMEs that have applied for and been successful, respectively, in their applications under the knowledge development box; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20613/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

There are a number of features in the Knowledge Development Box (“KDB”) which are specifically included to encourage claims by SMEs. For example, larger companies are required to apply transfer pricing standards to the documentation which is required to support a claim for relief under the KDB. While SMEs will need to have records to support any apportionments made, the administrative burden placed on them is lower in recognition of their status. 

In addition, while larger companies may only claim relief in respect of searched and examined patents or copyrighted software, smaller companies may be able to claim relief in respect of a third category of assets. That third category is essentially assets which are patentable, but not patented. In order to make a claim in respect of these assets, the company must apply to the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks for certification that the assets are eligible. 

Last year, the Oireachtas passed the Knowledge Development Box (Certification of inventions) Act 2017 which provides for that certification. Companies cannot claim the tax relief associated with these assets until they receive certification from the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. The Patent Office has published detailed guidance on applying for this certification:

https://www.patentsoffice.ie/en/About-Us/IP-for-Business/Knowledge-Development-Box/KDB-Certificate/

I have been advised by the Patents Office that they have not received any applications to date in relation to the KDB certificate for SME’s. However, I would note that the KDB certificate has only been available to firms since last year, through the introduction of the KDB (Certificate of Inventions) Act 2017, and firms may yet be considering applications for the certificate. Furthermore, firms of all sizes can avail of the KDB scheme through the usual patent process.

Given the supporting documentation required, companies have a 24 month time frame available to avail of the KDB. Therefore, it is anticipated that more companies will make use of this 24 month time frame. As such, KDB claims in respect of the year ended 31 December 2016 may be claimed for the year ended 31 December 2017. Therefore, further claims in respect of the year ended 31 December 2016 may be made by September 2018.

Tax Reliefs Application

Ceisteanna (81)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

81. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance if the start-up company relief section 486C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 will expire in 2018 as planned or if there will be an extension in budget 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20647/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Finance Act 2008 introduced start-up corporation tax relief for companies in their first three years of trading. The relief was introduced to provide support to new business ventures in their critical early years of trading, thereby creating additional employment and economic activity in the State. The scheme has subsequently been enhanced and amended since its introduction. In Finance Act 2011, the scheme was amended to link the quantum of relief to the Employer PRSI payable for each employee, so as to incentivise employment. Furthermore, the scheme was amended in Finance Act 2013 to allow the carry forward of unused trading losses from the three year qualifying period.

In line with the Department of Finance’s 2014 Tax Expenditure Guidelines, the scheme is time bound and subject to review on a regular basis.  The last review of the scheme was undertaken in 2015 at which time it was recommended that the scheme be extended for a further three years until 2018.

Therefore, a review of the scheme will be undertaken by my Department this year, ahead of Finance Bill 2018. On the completion of the review, a decision will be taken with respect to the potential extension of the scheme beyond 2018.

VAT Rate Application

Ceisteanna (82, 83)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

82. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to a situation in Belgium (details supplied); if there is a facility for a similar measure to be applied here in terms of VAT reduction on defibrillators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20714/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

83. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the status of discussions at EU level in relation to the action plan on the future of VAT; the opportunities which have been taken to continue to recommend that member states should be able to apply a specialised VAT rating to defibrillators and other emergency medical and rescue equipment at EU Council level in these discussions; the detail of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20715/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 83 together.

The Programme for Partnership Government recognises the difficulties faced by community groups in relation to VAT rates on certain products such as defibrillators. This is an EU competency and the Government has committed to work with our EU counterparts in seeking to reform this area.

Defibrillators, other than implantable defibrillators, are liable to VAT at the standard rate, which in Ireland is 23%. Parts or accessories are also liable to VAT at the standard rate. There is no provision under existing VAT law that would make it possible to apply a reduced rate or zero rate to the supply of such products. Under the EU VAT Directive, any changes to VAT rates outside of what is currently permitted by the EU VAT Directive must be negotiated at EU technical working groups and ultimately agreed by the EU Council of Finance Ministers.

As part of the Action Plan on the Future of VAT 2016 which sets out the Commission’s pathway for modernizing the VAT system, the EU Commission published a proposal on the reform of VAT rates on 18 January 2018. Technical and political discussions are ongoing at EU Council among all Member States and Ireland will take the opportunity to continue to recommend that Member States should be able to apply specialised VAT rating to defibrillators and other emergency-medical and rescue equipment. The Government is very committed to supporting community groups and we will continue to press for a reduction in the VAT rate on defibrillators at EU level.

It should of course be noted that The Value-Added Tax (Refund of Tax)(No. 15) Order 1981 provides for a refund of VAT in respect of certain medical equipment, including a defibrillator, acquired by a disabled person for exclusive personal use.

Tax Credits

Ceisteanna (84)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

84. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Finance if there is a specific tax credit available for international screen production companies that bring post-production and visual effects work here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20718/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Section 481 TCA 1997 provides a 32% payable credit for eligible expenditure on film production in Ireland. It is available to Irish and international film production companies that are resident in the State or in an EEA State and carry on business in the State through a branch or subsidiary.

Section 481 was substantially changed (in Finance Act 2013, Finance (no.2) Act 2013, and Finance Act 2014) from an investor led Income Tax scheme to a Film Corporate Tax Credit.  The process of redesigning the scheme involved comprehensive consultation with representatives of various sectors within the film industry including the visual effects and post production sector. The new scheme commenced in January 2015, following State Aid approval from the European Commission.

One of the key changes to the design of the new scheme related to the timing of application for the credit.  As post production and visual effects are generally contracted later in the production process and mostly after the commencement of principal photography, they were previously unable to apply for the support of section 481 relief. The legislation was specifically amended to ensure that stand-alone work of post production and visual effects companies would now be able to access the credit. This has meant that Irish post production and visual effects companies are now able to pitch for international projects which are supporting the development of the industry in Ireland.

Tax Collection

Ceisteanna (85)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

85. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Finance if the most recent notice of tax assessment will be sent to a person (details supplied). [20752/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the person in question is registered as an employee and pays tax through the PAYE system.

The person was issued with a PAYE Balancing Statement for 2017 on 16 March 2018. The Balancing Statement is the PAYE equivalent of a Notice of Tax Assessment, which is relevant to self employed taxpayers.

If the person requires a copy of the Balancing Statement or requires any further assistance, they should contact Revenue at 1890 222 425.

State Claims Agency Data

Ceisteanna (86)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

86. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on solicitors' fees, barristers' fees, guardians ad litem and settlements in personal injury, property damage and clinical negligence claims dealt with by the State Claims Agency in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20761/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) have supplied the information contained in the following table in response to the Deputy’s question. This table shows the transactional expenditure against Clinical and General claims which have been delegated to the State Claims Agency across all 146 delegated state authorities since inception in 2001. This information contained in the report is correct as of 9 May 2018.

Table on Total Expenditure by Payment Type:

 Clinical/General

 Payment Type

 €

 Clinical

 Damages

 €948,087,465

 Clinical

 Plaintiff Legal Costs

 €229,774,257

 Clinical

 Agency Legal Costs

 €141,681,685

 Clinical

 Expert Costs

 €29,867,102

 Clinical

 Total

 €1,349,410,511

 General

 Damages

 €200,390,037

 General

 Plaintiff Legal Costs

 €67,800,540

 General

 Agency Legal Costs

 €49,549,246

 General

 Expert Costs

 €16,130,590

 General

 Total

 €333,870,415

 Grand Total (€)

 

 €1,683,280,927

To aid understanding the SCA have supplied the following definitions in relation to terms used in the table.

National Incident Management System (NIMS): Incidents (which include claims) are reported using the “National Incident Management System”. This is hosted by the State Claims Agency (SCA) for the HSE, other Healthcare enterprises and State Authorities. An incident can be a harmful Incident (Adverse Event), no harm incident, near miss, dangerous occurrence (reportable circumstance) or complaint.

Damages: The compensation paid to a claimant in personal injury claims for the pain and suffering arising from a physical and/or mental injury (known as General Damages). The compensation paid to a claimant for out of pocket expenses incurred such as loss of earnings, vehicle damage, etc. (known as Special Damages).

Plaintiff Legal Costs: Legal Costs incurred by the Plaintiff and paid by the SCA.

Agency Legal Costs: Fees paid to solicitors and barristers engaged by the Agency.

Expert Costs: Fees paid to experts engaged by the SCA e.g. medical experts, private investigators etc.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (87)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

87. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of employees within his Department in receipt of a salary below the living wage of €11.70 per hour. [20620/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

There are 17 officers in my Department whose hourly rate is below €11.70 and no staff in my Department are paid less than the National Minimum Wage.

It is important that Ireland’s statutory National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage concept are not confused. The Living Wage is a voluntary societal initiative centred on the social, business and economic case to ensure that, wherever it can be afforded, employers will pay a rate of pay that provides an income that is sufficient to meet an individual’s basic needs, such as housing, food, clothing, transport and healthcare. The Living Wage is voluntary and has no legislative basis and is therefore not a statutory entitlement.

The National Minimum Wage is a statutory entitlement and has a legislative basis. The Low Pay Commission annually assesses the appropriate level of the National Minimum Wage. The current national minimum hourly rate of pay is €9.55 per hour.

Departmental Agencies Staff Data

Ceisteanna (88, 89)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

88. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the disaggregation of salary scales or levels among agency workers within or through his Department. [20626/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

89. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of workers employed through his Department under the status of agency worker. [20632/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 89 together.

In answer to the Deputy’s questions I can confirm that there are no agency workers employed by my Department.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (90)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

90. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when funding will be granted to Kerry County Council to carry out repairs on flood defences on the north Kerry way at The Kerries, Tralee, County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20650/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I have been advised by the Office of Public Works that an application submitted under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection scheme by Kerry County Council for a project at the North Kerry Way is currently under consideration and the Council will be notified shortly.

Roads Maintenance Funding

Ceisteanna (91)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

91. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the interaction his Department has had with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the need for supplementary funding of local authorities for road repairs and maintenance budgets following damage caused by recent storms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20669/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

There has been no interaction with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the need for supplementary funding of local authorities for road repairs and maintenance budgets following damage caused by recent storms.

As recently outlined by the Minister for Transport, Tourism (PQ 17344/18) the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of local authorities, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

The 2018 regional and local road allocations (total €417m) were announced by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport earlier this year and all grant funding available has now been allocated. 

It is a matter for each Council to determine its priorities and decide its work programme on that basis, taking available grant funding and its own resources into account.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (92)

John Brassil

Ceist:

92. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding of €215,000 will be made available to the local authority to allow comprehensive flood relief works be carried out on the River Flesk at Glenflesk, County Kerry. [20698/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I have been advised by the Office of Public Works that an application submitted under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection scheme by Kerry County Council for a project at Glenflesk is currently under consideration. The Council will be notified on completion of this assessment.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (93)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

93. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the budgetary projection within his Department due to demographic change for the years 2018 to 2028. [20707/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Expenditure Report 2018 set out costs of €0.4 billion for 2019 and 2020 in relation to demographics net of estimated savings of €50 million in Live Register related expenditure arising from continued improvement in employment. These costs relating to demographic developments arise in the Departments of Health, Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and Education and Skills. The savings currently projected arising from expected improvements in the Live Register will be re-estimated during the Budget Estimates process taking account of the employment situation and projections in relation to unemployment at that time. 

The amounts included in respect of demographic cost pressures are informed by the IGEES staff paper ‘Budgetary Impact of Changing Demographics 2017 – 2027’ published in September, 2016. This paper provides an estimate of the demographic cost pressures from 2017 to 2027 across the three main areas of current expenditure; Social Protection, Health and Education. Based on the analysis in the paper, in the short term, annual demographic cost pressures are expected to remain relatively static out to 2020, at an average of €435 million per annum. Taking a longer term view, following an anticipated reduction in costs in 2021-2022, due to changes to the retirement age, the average cost of demographic pressures from 2023 – 2027 is estimated at €401 million. However, it should be noted that longer term projections are inherently uncertain and will be subject to re-estimation to take account of changes in costs and population trends.

Youth Guarantee

Ceisteanna (94, 95, 96)

John Brady

Ceist:

94. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of EU funding made available to Ireland under the youth guarantee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20672/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

95. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount Ireland has drawn down from EU funding under the youth guarantee; if no such funds have been drawn down, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20673/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

96. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to draw down EU funding under the youth guarantee to assist in reducing the youth unemployment rate of 12%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20674/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 to 96, inclusive, together.

The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of the EU Youth Guarantee.  It is integrated into European Social Fund (ESF) programming as a dedicated priority axis within the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 (PEIL).  The specific YEI allocation for Ireland of €68m is matched by equal amounts from our ESF allocation and from the Exchequer, giving an overall allocation of €204m.   

All ESF activities, including YEI activities, are fully funded up-front by the Exchequer with the EU (ESF/YEI) funding being claimed in arrears.  While no payment application has been made to date to the Commission under the PEIL, it is expected that the funding will be fully drawn down.

The ESF authorities must be designated in accordance with the EU regulations prior to making the first payment application.  This designation is based on the opinion of the Independent Audit Body (IAB) which must be satisfied across a range of criteria that systems are in place to allow the ESF authorities to perform their required functions.  These systems requirements include the provision of a computerised accounting and information system for EU funds to meet the 2014-2020 functionality requirements.  The final phase of the IT system went live at the end of March 2018.  The ESF authorities are engaging with the IAB and it is expected that designation will be completed in the coming weeks.  

Preparations are underway for the submission of a first payment application to the Commission in Q3 2018. The European Commission has advised that the potential decommitment at end 2018 is €127.7m, if not claimed in payment applications in the meantime.  The ESF authorities will ensure that sufficient payment applications are submitted to fully drawdown the EU funding allocations.

In accordance with the ESF Regulations, initial pre-financing of 3.5% and annual pre-financing for 2016 and 2017, of the EU support for the YEI priority axis, including the ESF matching financing, amounting to some €8.3m has been received to date. Separately, additional initial YEI pre-financing of €19.8m was also received in line with EU Regulation 799 of 2015 but was subsequently reimbursed as Ireland did not submit an interim payment application by May 2016 for at least 50% of the amount advanced.  The reimbursement of this amount has not resulted in any loss of EU monies to the Exchequer.

Youth Guarantee

Ceisteanna (97)

John Brady

Ceist:

97. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the option of EU funding under the youth guarantee for lone parents and young persons of working age with a disability was opted out of; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20675/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The EU co-financed Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) aims to tackle youth unemployment and implement the Youth Guarantee by providing job, education and training opportunities to young people aged 15-25 who are not in employment, education of training. YEI funding is reserved for use in those regions, including Ireland, where youth unemployment levels exceeded 25% during the reference year of 2012.

The specific YEI funding allocation for Ireland of €68m is matched by equal amounts from our European Social Fund (ESF) allocation and from the Exchequer, giving an overall allocation of €204m. The YEI is integrated into ESF programming and is being delivered in Ireland as a dedicated priority axis within the ESF Programme for Education, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

The ESF Managing Authority and the Operational Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) maintain an ongoing overview of the funding allocations under the PEIL and re-allocate the available funding as required, in accordance with the EU Regulatory provisions. All ESF and YEI activities are fully funded up-front by the Exchequer. The activities currently approved for YEI funding are Youthreach; Community Training Centres (from 2017); Momentum; JobsPlus for Young People; the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme; the Department of Defence Employment Support Scheme (DFESS) and the Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) which the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is planning to introduce this year. Of these activities, Momentum, JobsPlus for Young People and the DFESS are specifically targeted at recipients of jobseekers’ welfare payments.

In terms of specific supports for young people with disabilities, the new Ability pre-activation programme for young people with disabilities will be co-financed by the ESF under Priority 2 of the PEIL, aimed at promoting social inclusion and combating discrimination in the labour market. The focus of the programme will be on projects aimed at young people with disabilities (aged 15 –29) designed to assist in their transition from school to further education and employment.

The Fund for Students with Disabilities is also co-financed by the ESF under Priority 3 of the PEIL aimed at Investing in Education, Training and Life Long Learning with a view to upskilling and re-skilling the labour force. As part of the Third Level Access measure, this Fund supports the attainment of tertiary education qualifications by students with disabilities, thereby supporting their access to sustainable employment as skilled members of the workforce.

There is a specific project “New Futures for Lone Parents” which is aimed at lone parents within the Gender Equality activity co-financed under Priority 2. The Gender Equality activity is aimed at women who are currently detached from the labour market and who are interested in entering/re-entering employment. It also includes an entrepreneurship strand in line with the objectives of the EU 2020 Strategy, focussing on supporting business women (irrespective of their economic status) to realise their full business potential.

Finally, lone parents and people with disabilities are within the target groups to be engaged in the Social Inclusion and community Activation Programme which is also co-financed by the ESF under Priority 2 of the PEIL.

Public Sector Staff

Ceisteanna (98, 114)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

98. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which antenatal appointments for public servants and civil servants are categorised in the context of leave calculation and or arrangements (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20684/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

114. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which antenatal appointments for teachers is categorised in the context of leave calculation and or arrangements (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20683/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 114 together.

Chapter 4 - Maternity Protection Entitlements , Terms & Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools – Edition 2 issued by my Department details the Maternity Protection Entitlements for teachers. Paragraph 8 of Chapter 4 sets out the provisions as regards time off for ante/post-natal care appointments and attendance at ante-natal classes and states:

"8.1 Pregnant teachers are entitled to time off work, without loss of pay, to:

(a) attend medical appointments related to ante-natal care,

(b) attend one set of ante-natal classes in a working career, other than the last 3 classes in such a set, and

(c) attend medical appointments related to post-natal care within 14 weeks of the birth.

8.2 If a pregnant teacher misses particular ante-natal classes in a set then it is permitted that during a subsequent pregnancy, or pregnancies, she may attend classes equivalent to those missed.

8.3 An expectant father is entitled to time off work, without loss of pay, to attend the last two ante-natal classes in a set attended by the pregnant mother."

These terms and conditions have been agreed under the auspices of the Teachers Conciliation Council, a body established in accordance with the terms of the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for Teachers. The Council is composed of representatives of teachers, school management, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and is chaired by an official of the Workplace Relations Commission.

European Globalisation Fund

Ceisteanna (99)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

99. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is technically possible to receive approval at EU level to support companies through an adjustment period caused by Brexit by adapting the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to ensure exposed companies can avail of grant aid from the economic fallout of Brexit. [20772/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is an EU co-funding instrument to assist workers who are made redundant as a result of globalisation or due to a global financial and economic crisis. 

The EGF Regulation (EU No 1309/2013) provides that to be eligible for assistance there must be at least 500 redundancies in a specific company (including suppliers / downstream producers) in a 4 month period, or at least 500 redundancies in a specific sector in a 9 month period.  In small labour markets or in exceptional circumstances, applications can be made where the minimum threshold number of redundancies is not entirely met and the Member State can substantiate that there is a serious impact on employment and the local, regional or national economy. 

In all cases the EGF Regulation requires the Member State to provide a reasoned analysis of the link between the redundancies and the major structural changes in work trade patterns or the global financial and economic crisis.

The package of measures that can be co-financed by the EGF include personalised active labour market measures targeted at the redundant workers.  These measures can include business start-ups, employee take-overs and self-employment support up to a maximum of €15,000 per worker.

Accordingly, it would not be possible under the existing Regulatory Framework to support companies as suggested by the Deputy.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (100)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

100. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 233 of 27 March 2018, if the tender for appointment of a replacement architect for a building project (details supplied) has been made. [20531/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Tender documents for a replacement architect for the major building project at the school referred to by the Deputy are currently being prepared by my Department.

It is expected that the Invitation to Tender for this appointment will issue week ending 18 May 2018.