I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 30 together.
I must correct an inaccuracy uttered by the Deputy. The cost of motor insurance is down 27% from the peak. It is important that we accept the facts. The facts are that the CSO says it is down 27% from the peak, which is progress. The impact has not been as great in areas involving direct interaction with the public such as the hospitality, play centre, leisure or tourism sectors along with certain voluntary groups and the performing arts. We are working on that. I have met representatives from these different sectors on a regular basis over the past 18 months so I am well aware of their frustration about the perceived pace of reform. Unfortunately, there is no single policy or legislative silver bullet to stem or reverse premium price rises immediately. This is because there are many constraints faced by the Government in trying to address this issue, in particular the fact that for constitutional reasons, it cannot direct the courts as to the award levels that should be applied and for legal reasons, it cannot direct insurance companies as to the pricing level they should apply in respect of businesses seeking insurance. The Deputy knows both of these facts are true.
The passing of the Judicial Council Act this year will be the game changer. This Act provides for the establishment of a personal injuries guidelines committee upon the formal establishment of the judicial council. This committee is tasked with introducing new guidelines to replace the book of quantum. The commencement of the Judicial Council Act is a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality. Work to establish the judicial council is well underway. I understand that the full Act can only be commenced when the Judiciary is in a position to establish formally the judicial council but that the Chief Justice has stated that he hopes to be able to do so before the end of this year, which I welcome. For my part, I am very eager to have this up and running.
The Government is doing all it can to facilitate this process. In this regard, I am pleased to note that the Minister for Justice and Equality commenced the necessary provisions of the Act a number of months ago to allow all the necessary background work to be completed in preparation for the formal establishment of the judicial council. In addition, the Minister for Finance allocated €1 million in budget 2020 to enable the process to be expedited by the Judiciary. These steps will ensure that the Judiciary has the necessary means so that when the council is established, its various functions can be operationalised.
With regard to the personal injuries guidelines committee and the subsequent publication of its new guidelines to re-calibrate award levels and replace the book of quantum, it is a matter for the Judiciary to put in motion the necessary process to expedite this. The first important step required by the legislation is for the Chief Justice to make the necessary appointments to the personal injuries guidelines committee. I understand that there have been developments around the designation of judges to be appointed upon the formal establishment of the committee and I anticipate that the Chief Justice may have more to say on that matter next week. It is hoped that this in turn should allow the members-designate to commence their activities on an informal basis so as to progress as far as possible their work prior to formal establishment. The Deputy has heard me speak about the parallel process of this happening before the actual establishment. I welcome this development as it demonstrates that the Judiciary is giving this matter the priority I, the Minister for Finance, the Government and every Member of this House believe it deserves. I also understand that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has written to the Judiciary to offer its expertise and assistance for the purpose of this re-calibration exercise. I also commit the cost of insurance working group to the re-calibration exercise. Finally, I believe that once award levels are re-calibrated to a more sustainable level and applied consistently, the current problems being experienced by impacted businesses should recede.