Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (44)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

44. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the capital allocation of his Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52208/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Under the National Development Plan, as part of Project Ireland 2040, the Defence Vote was allocated €541 million in capital funding for the period 2018 to 2022 and the capital funding position for the years 2020 to 2022 is as outlined in the table below.

No additional capital funding figures have been provided beyond 2022.

Defence Capital Expenditure Ceilings

2020

2021

2022

Defence Group

€113 million

€120 million

€125 million

This level of capital funding allows the Defence Organisation to undertake a programme of sustained equipment replacement and infrastructure development across the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service and demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that the Defence Forces have the capabilities necessary to deliver on all their assigned roles, both at home and overseas.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (45)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

45. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52399/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

There are four business credit cards issued to my Department. The table below provides details of the expenditure on these cards and the bank interest paid in respect of these cards from 1 January 2016 to 31 October 2019.

Year

Amount Spent

Interest

2016

€20,004.38

Nil

2017

€15,603.86

€11.53

2018

€23,967.94

Nil

2019 (to 31 October)

€15,951.59

Nil

I can confirm that my Department has a credit card policy in place that sets out the conditions for the use of the Department's business credit cards. This policy requires each cardholder to certify that any expenditure on the card assigned to them was incurred for official purposes only and was in accordance with the Department's guidelines on the use of credit cards. I can also confirm that all expenditure on the Department's business credit cards is subject to continuous monitoring by the appropriate authority.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (46)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

46. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the capital allocation of his Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52212/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The National Development Plan 2018 - 2027 includes, in Annex 1, the capital allocations for Departments up until 2022. My Department will have a capital allocation of €13 million in 2020, across its two Votes: Vote 27 - International Co-operation and Vote 28 - Foreign Affairs and Trade, as published on Budget Day in October. The Department's total capital allocations for 2021 and 2022 are projected to be €13 million and €14 million respectively. The capital allocations for the period 2023-2025 remain to be decided as part of the annual Estimates process.

The main focus of capital investment by the Department for 2020, and for the period ahead, will be the cost of constructing and maintaining State-owned properties overseas under Global Ireland 2025, the on-going Passport Reform Programme, the continuing investment in ICT to support the Department’s global ICT network and Ireland’s participation at EXPO 2020.

The projected breakdown of the total 2020 capital allocation of €13 million, across the various areas referred to above, is as follows:

2020

State properties overseas

€ 5 million

Passport Reform Programme

€ 4 million

ICT

€ 2 million

EXPO 2020

€ 2 million

Total

€13 million

Decisions on the breakdown of the capital allocation by area of expenditure for the years 2021-2025 will be made in due course.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (47)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

47. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52403/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

There are currently just three official credit cards in use in the Department's Headquarters. Two are held by designated officials in the Finance Division offices of the Department in Dublin and in Limerick and are generally used only for emergency purchases or purchases that can only be made by credit card. An official credit card was also issued to the Private Office of the Office of the Tánaiste in February 2019 but the card is only used to make and hold hotel and other reservations. There have not been any transactions on this card since it issued earlier this year. There are no official credit cards held by the Department in the Offices of the Minister of State for European Affairs or the Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development. In 2016 and 2017 an official credit card was held in the Office of then Minister of State for International Development but the card was cancelled in 2017.

My Department’s policy on the use of official credit cards is restrictive and credit cards are only authorised for officers who, due to the nature of their work or for particular circumstances, have a compelling business need for an official credit card. Official credit cards may only be used for necessary transactions arising in the course of official business and the credit limit is €5,000. Issue of official credit cards must be authorised by the Department’s Chief Financial Officer.

Official credit card bills are analysed and each transaction certified as in order before payment is made. Personal expenditure is not allowed on official credit cards. All relevant supporting documentation is retained for internal and external audit purposes. Procedures on the use of official credit cards are reviewed regularly to ensure that the controls in place are sufficiently robust.

Where colleagues claim for official expenditure incurred on personal credit cards the same controls are in place including the need to submit full invoice/receipts for the relevant expenditure. All expenditure claims are approved by a line manager.

The total amount spent on credit cards in the Department's Headquarters in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and to end-November 2019 was:

2016 - €5,294

2017 - €6,590

2018 - €3,224

2019 - €5,286

The amount of bank interest paid was:

2018 - €3.38

2019 - €0.86

Bank interest was not paid in the years 2016 or 2017.

In addition, twenty nine Missions abroad, out of a total of ninety overseas diplomatic Missions, have credit card facilities for use for the official business of the Mission. These credit cards may only be used for transactions arising in the course of official business e.g. to pay for air and train travel, hotel bookings, etc on behalf of diplomatic officers based at the Mission. The same strict controls and guidelines regarding use that apply to official credit cards held at Headquarters apply to official credit cards held at Missions abroad. The Department's financial management system does not allow for the information sought in respect of credit cards used in overseas Missions to be extracted in the time available to finalise the PQ reply.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not have any agencies operating under its aegis.

Tax Incentives

Ceisteanna (48)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

48. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the examination undertaken of the use of tax instruments to support investment by general practitioners, dentists and other professionals in primary care centres, technology and service developments. [52255/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

My Department put in place published guidelines for the evaluation of potential tax expenditures in October 2014 (http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2015/Documents/Tax_Expenditures_Oct14.pdf). Drawing on economic evidence, these make clear that it is important that any policy proposal which involves tax expenditures should only occur in limited circumstances where there are demonstrable market failures and where a tax-based incentive is more efficient than a direct expenditure intervention.

An examination from a tax policy perspective of the issues mentioned by the Deputy in current circumstances has yet to be carried out by my Department.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (49)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

49. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the capital allocation of his Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52211/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Capital expenditure allocations for 2020 to 2022 were published for each Ministerial Vote Group in Budget 2020. The Finance Vote Group allocations are set out below, and these allocations will be verified in the 2020 Revised Estimates Volume.

-

2020

€million

2021

€million

2022

€million

Finance Group

22

18

19

Allocations beyond 2022 have not yet been fixed by the Government.

Within the Finance Vote Group, allocations are generally made under two Votes, with the vast majority going to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, and the Department of Finance receiving a smaller allocation. By way of illustration, in the 2020 estimates, the Department of Finance has been allocated €1 million.

With regard to the areas in which funds will be allocated, my Department’s capital allocation provides for the routine acquisition of IT equipment and systems, and for certain premises expenses relating to the buildings it occupies. Aside from these types of expenditure, my Department does not have any long or medium term capital projects.

Banks Recapitalisation

Ceisteanna (50)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

50. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the investment made by the State in banks (details supplied) during the financial crisis by institution; the amount recouped to date from the institutions; the value of the residual investment by the State in the institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52288/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Over the course of 2009 and 2010 Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society were recapitalised at a cost of €34.7 billion. Of this €5.4 billion was injected into INBS and €29.3 billion into Anglo Irish Bank by way of equity and promissory notes.

These entities were merged in July 2011 to become the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) which was subsequently liquidated in February 2013. Please see table below which sets out the current net position of that capital support.

IBRC

€bn

Cost of capitalising IBRC, through investments

(34.7)

Fees received under liability guarantee schemes

0.5

Claims paid under guarantee schemes

(1.1)

Exchequer funds received from IBRC Special Liquidators to date

1.5

Net position

(33.8)

To date the State has received payments of €1.5 billion from the Special Liquidation of IBRC. The recovery of further funds from the liquidation of IBRC will depend on the resolution of outstanding legal actions and the realisation of the remaining assets which is expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2021. All surplus funds that remain in IBRC at the conclusion of the liquidation will be returned to the State as the sole shareholder.

Further information in relation to the cost of banking stabilisation measures for IBRC is contained in Chapter 2 of the Accounts of the Public Services for 2018 published by the Comptroller and Auditor General in September 2019.

Credit Union Data

Ceisteanna (51)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

51. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the investment by the State in credit unions during the financial crisis; the amount recouped to date; the value of residual investment by the State in the credit unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52289/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

To answer the Deputy's question there has been no investment by the State in credit unions during the financial crisis.

However, my Department put in place a number of financial measures, supported by Exchequer funds, to assist the credit union sector since 2011. These measures include:

- establishment of the Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo) supported by the availability of €250 million in the Credit Union Fund for voluntary restructuring of credit unions facilitated by ReBo; and

- availability of €250 million for resolution purposes to ensure the safety of members’ savings.

The Credit Union Fund

The Credit Union Fund was established under the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 (2012 Act) primarily to provide a source of financial support for the restructuring of credit unions under ReBo.

The Government provided €250m? to the Credit Union Fund specifically for restructuring, approximately €22.6m of which was drawn down. €11m of funding was provided by the sector through levies from 2014-2017, which resulted in a net cost to the fund of €11.6m.

On 28 November 2018, €238m was returned to the exchequer leaving approximately €0.4m in the fund which will be transferred to the exchequer following formal dissolution of ReBo. Legislation formally dissolving ReBo is expected to be finalised shortly.

Resolution Fund

The Credit Institutions Resolution Fund (CIRF) was established under the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) Act 2011 (2011 Act). In December 2011, the Minister for Finance contributed €250m to the CIRF. On 29 November 2018, at my request, the CIRF repaid €240m leaving an outstanding balance due to the exchequer of €10m. To date circa €30m has been used to support resolution actions in the credit union sector.

Revenue Documents

Ceisteanna (52)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

52. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the way in which taxpayers who do not have access to a computer or are not computer literate and do not have a Revenue Commissioners myAccount will be able to access their employment detail summaries for 2019 under PAYE modernisation; if they will be able to obtain the information by writing to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52291/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Since January 2019, employers and pension providers report pay and statutory deductions to Revenue in real-time on or before each pay date. The introduction of PAYE Modernisation also removed the requirement for employers to complete the various forms that were part of the previous reporting regime, for example forms P30, P35, P45 and P60.

As a replacement for the form P60 (certificate of total annual pay and deductions), Revenue will provide an online ‘Employment Detail Summary’ for each employee. This service will be available from early January 2020 in respect of 2019. The online Summary will include the pay and statutory details as reported to Revenue in real-time by employers and pension providers during 2019.

Employees can access their individual ‘Employment Detail Summary’ through Revenue’s myAccount service and can view, download or print the relevant information as required.

For customers who do not have access to myAccount or experience any difficulties using the system, the ‘Employment Detail Summary’ information can be sourced by contacting Revenue at telephone number 01-7383636 or by writing to ‘Freepost’, PAYE Services, P.O. Box 327, Cork.

Insurance Costs

Ceisteanna (53, 54, 55)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

53. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number and date of meetings held in 2019 with childcare providers or the childcare sector regarding increasing insurance costs in the sector. [52374/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

54. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number and date of meetings held in 2019 with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs regarding increasing insurance costs in the childcare sector. [52375/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

55. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the actions he will take to respond to increasing insurance costs in the childcare sector and the inability of certain childcare providers to access insurance cover for 2020. [52376/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 to 55, inclusive, together.

Let me say at the outset that I am very aware of the issues facing many businesses and organisations in various sectors in relation to the cost and availability of insurance. However, neither Minister of State D’Arcy nor I have had any dedicated meetings with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, or childcare providers or their representative bodies, on the specific issue raised in the Deputy’s question. I would also add that since the start of 2018 my Department has not received any representations from relevant childcare organisations or childcare providers. This would seem to indicate that there were not any significant problems in relation to the general availability or cost of insurance within the childcare sector during this period. In this regard, it should be noted in other sectors where there have been problems with insurance costs and availability of cover, there has been significant engagement with Minister of State D’Arcy and my Department on such matters.

Notwithstanding this, I have recently become aware, through media coverage, that some childcare providers may face difficulties in obtaining insurance, as a result of the apparent withdrawal of a particular insurer operating in that sector. This may, in particular impact those providers that have open insurance claims against them, for example, and are unable to secure an alternative provider. This is a worrying development and is not too dissimilar to the withdrawal of other operators in the leisure sector earlier this year. From Minister of State D’Arcy’s dealings with some of these insurers, including his meetings in London in September, it is likely that the overall unstable claims environment in Ireland as well as uncertainty created by Brexit have been factors in the decision of the company in question.

As the Deputy is aware however, there are significant constraints on what the Government can do to immediately resolve issues around the cost and availability of insurance. In this regard, neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, have any influence over the pricing of insurance products, and neither can we compel any insurer operating in the Irish market to provide cover to any sector of the market, as this is a commercial matter for insurers. A further constraint is the fact that for constitutional reasons, the Government cannot direct the courts as to the award levels that should be applied.

Notwithstanding these constraints, reducing the high cost of insurance generally and making Ireland more attractive to new entrants has been a priority for the Government. The Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) was established in July 2016 and undertook an examination of the factors contributing to the increasing cost of insurance in order to identify what short, medium and long-term measures could be introduced to help reduce the cost of insurance for consumers, businesses and the voluntary and arts sectors. The CIWG has produced two reports the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance and the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance.

Many reforms have been made already including amendments to the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act, and the establishment of National Claims Information Database in the Central Bank of Ireland. However it is clear that the single biggest challenge that still needs to be addressed and which is having the most impact in the general public liability area is the level of awards that exist in Ireland, for relatively minor injuries, as compared to other jurisdictions. In this regard, the key recommendation arising from both of the CIWG’s reports was the establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) and the publication of its two reports. The PIC conducted a benchmarking of award levels between Ireland and other jurisdictions for the first time and this has been very helpful in identifying the scale of the problem that is faced. This research showed that award levels for soft tissue injuries in Ireland were 4.4 times higher than in England and Wales. The PIC recommended that a Judicial Council be established and that it should compile guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury. In carrying out this exercise, the PIC believes that the Judiciary will take account of the jurisprudence of the Court of Appeal, the results of its benchmarking exercise, etc. On foot of this recommendation, the Government with the support of all parties in the Oireachtas prioritised the passing of the Judicial Council Act 2019. 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.

Work to establish the Judicial Council is well underway. With regard to the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee and the subsequent publication of its new guidelines to recalibrate award levels and replace the Book of Quantum, it is a matter for the Judiciary to put in motion the necessary process to expedite these. The first important step in this process was the recent announcement by the Chief Justice of the names of the seven “members designate” of the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee (PIGC), which will be chaired by Ms Justice Mary Irvine of the Supreme Court. This is a significant step forward as I believe it is a recognition of the prioritisation that the Judiciary are giving to this issue.

I am hopeful that the creation of personal injury damage guidelines by the Judiciary can result in the lowering of award levels. Were this to happen, I would expect a lowering of the costs of insurance generally. I would also expect that insurers operating in Ireland would widen the areas of risk they will cover, as I believe that cherry picking only the most profitable areas of insurance, which appears to be happening at the moment, does not serve anyone’s overall economic interest over the medium to long term. I note the comments made by the Interim Insurance Ireland CEO Gerry Hassett recently that if award levels come down so will premiums. I believe that this is a very reassuring commitment and it is one the Government intends holding the insurance industry to. I would hope that they will also widen the areas of risk they are willing to cover.

Finally, as the Deputy will know, the Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr. Michael D’Arcy TD, operates an open-door policy regarding meeting any stakeholders that approach him about difficulties they are encountering in securing insurance. Therefore, if there is a significant underlying problem in the childcare sector, I would encourage its representative associations or other key stakeholders to meet with Minister D’Arcy to outline the issues that their members are experiencing in respect of insurance.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (56)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

56. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 52 of 14 November 2019, when he will propose to Dáil Éireann that he will not invest €500 million into the rainy day fund in accordance with section 6 of the National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Act 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52392/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Deputy is correct that under Section 6 of the National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Act 2019, in any given year, the Minister for Finance may make a proposal to the Dáil not to transfer the annual €500m contribution into the National Surplus (Exceptional Contingencies) Reserve Fund.

Given that a disorderly Brexit was the baseline scenario for Budget 2020, on Budget Day, 8 October 2019, I announced my intention not to transfer the €500 million from the Exchequer to the National Surplus (Exceptional Contingencies) Reserve Fund in 2019.

By reason of the exceptional circumstances posed by the UK’s proposed withdrawal from the European Union, I am still satisfied that the making of the payment would place an undue burden on the public finances.

Therefore, I have proposed a Motion seeking a Dáil Resolution not to pay the prescribed annual contribution into the Fund in 2019. I have been advised that this motion will be listed for debate in the Dáil Schedule for Wednesday, 18 December next.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (57)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

57. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52402/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

In response to the Deputy’s question, information relating to the first three points contained in the Parliamentary Question are presented in tabular form below:

Department of Finance

2016

2017

2018

2019

No. of Credit Cards issued to Ministers and Officials working in Department

8

9

7

7

The amount spent on Credit Cards

€29,599.64

€37,490.64

€28,340.94

€26,370.51

The Bank Interest paid on Credit Cards

€154.44

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

The issuing and expenditure thresholds and the monitoring of Departmental credit cards is governed by (a) The Department of Finance’s Office Notice no. 9 of 2009 “Application and Guidelines for use of Official Credit Cards” and (b) the associated Revised Expenditure Approval Procedures as set out in the Department’s Office Notice no. 2 of 2013 which was issued by the Secretary General of the Department (copies attached).

The final element of your question relates to “the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses”.

There are 17 bodies under the aegis of my Department. For 4 of these bodies, the issue of work-related expenditure incurred on personally held credit cards does not arise. These are the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC), Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo), Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) and the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal (IFSAT).

CUAC is an advisory committee set up to advise the Minister on credit union matters and therefore has no staff by whom credit card claims would be made. ReBo has been wound down since mid-2017 and is awaiting completion of legislation to formally dissolve the entity and therefore has no staff by whom credit card claims would be made. IBRC has one remaining staff member for whom there is no requirement to incur work-related expenditure on their personal credit card. IFSAT does not have any employees and therefore, the issue of expenditure on work-related expenses does not arise.

The remaining 13 bodies have provided the following in relation to work-related expenditure incurred on personally held credit cards bills and that are subsequently recouped:

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Use of personal credit cards for business purposes has to be pre-approved by senior management (Deputy Director (PO equivalent) or higher). A recoupment claim can only be submitted on receipt of goods/services purchased, has to be signed by the budget holder and approved for payment by the relevant Deputy Director. Itemised receipts listing all items purchased, inclusive of all relevant taxes (VAT), have to be attached to a recoupment claim. A credit card statement for the period payment is to be made, or was made, must be attached to the recoupment claim. Statements are returned to the claimant on inspection of correctness of claim.

Central Bank

The Central Bank operates a Corporate Credit Card scheme and staff who have need to incur credit card type expenditure on behalf of the Bank are expected to apply for a card to be issued through this scheme. Although usage of staff’s own personal credit cards is not expressly prohibited, the Central Bank expect that staff only use their cards in very limited circumstances.

In order for any member of staff to recoup expenses as a result of business expenditure incurred, regardless of the method of payment, the staff member must complete an expenses claim form. All expense claims need to comply with the Central Bank’s expense claim policy and be submitted within 3 months of the expense being incurred. Claimants are required to provide a description of the spend and a business rationale for same. All expenses are required to be accompanied by proof of spend (i.e. relevant receipts). The expenditure requires approval at a Head of Division/Head of Function level or above.

Credit Review Office

The Credit Reviewer submits receipts for approval to the Department of Finance in respect of any work related expenses to be recouped that were incurred as a result of carrying out his/her duties.

Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal (DDMBA)

With the exception of one medical doctor, ordinary board members receive locum expenses which the Chairperson of the Board signs off on at the clinics. Other expenses, such as travel or accommodation costs when travelling to external clinics, may be claimed by board members for which receipts must be provided.

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO)

When a staff member uses their personal credit card for travel and expenses, this is reclaimed back in accordance with the FSPO’s travel and subsistence procedure. Staff who incur travel and/or subsistence expenses, having had travel and/or subsistence approved in advance by their line manager, must complete a Travel & Subsistence Claim form. When signed by the relevant Line Manager or budget holder, this form is then submitted to the Finance Officer for payment.

Investor Compensation Company DAC (ICCL)

The ICCL adhere to Central Bank of Ireland policies in relation to recoupment of work-related expenses. ICCL staff, when seeking reimbursement of work-related expenditure including those incurred on personally held cards, must submit all vouched requests for reimbursement through the Central Bank of Ireland travel desk.

Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC)

Work-related expenses recouped by staff in the Fiscal Council is on a vouched basis only. IFAC’s Payments Procedures Policy details the procedure and controls in respect of the use of the Fiscal Council debit card and in relation to the processing of Travel & Subsistence claims.

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), including National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) and Strategic Banking Corporation Ireland (SBCI)

The NTMA has an expenses policy applicable to all NTMA employees, including NAMA, HBFI and SBCI, which governs the claiming of work-related expenses. This policy provides, amongst other things, that when claiming an expense, including work-related expenses from a personal credit card, a detailed receipt should be submitted. Expense claims require manager approval. Claims may be rejected by the relevant approver where he/she is not satisfied that sufficient backup has been provided. In this regard, the approver may refuse to accept a credit card statement or card receipt as sufficient evidence.

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

If a work related expense is incurred on a personal credit card, a claim must be submitted through the Payroll Shared Service Centre’s Travel & Subsistence system and receipts must be provided.

Tax Appeals Commission (TAC)

To date, there have been no payments in respect of work-related expenses incurred on personally held credit cards. Should such a situation arise, a staff member must submit all relevant receipts and recoupment is managed in accordance with the current Civil Service guidelines in relation to travel and subsistence.

Expenditure Approval Procedures

Credit Card Guidelines

VAT Rate Application

Ceisteanna (58, 59, 60)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

58. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the VAT treatment of local concerts and music festivals; and the VAT treatment of alcohol and food sold on site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52420/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

59. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the VAT treatment of local concerts and music festivals; the VAT treatment of alcohol and food sold on site in cases in which their price is not included in the ticket base price. [52421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

60. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the VAT treatment of local concerts and music festivals; and if VAT can be claimed back by artists that perform at concerts or festivals. [52422/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 to 60, inclusive, together.

I am advised by Revenue that in general where a concert takes place in Ireland, the artist’s performance fee is subject to Irish VAT at the standard rate, currently 23%. Where an international performer is engaged by a promoter, it is the responsibility of the promoter to account for VAT due on the performance fees. As with all VAT registered businesses, they can reclaim VAT on their deductible business costs.

I am further advised by Revenue that the VAT treatment of admissions to local concerts and musical festivals is dependent on whether there are facilities available for the consumption of food or drink (including alcohol) during all or part of the performance. Where food or drink are available at the concert or musical festival, the admission tickets are subject to the reduced rate of VAT. However, where food or drink are not available at the concert or musical festival, the admission tickets are exempt from VAT.

In general, the catering of food at these events is subject to the reduced rate of VAT while drink and alcohol are subject to the standard rate of VAT.

Revenue has further information on the VAT treatment of different types of events and on food and drink available on their website (links below).

Admission to events - https://www.revenue.ie/en/vat/vat-on-services/exceptions-to-the-general-place-of-supply-rules-for-services/admission-to-events/what-is-an-admission-for-vat-purposes.aspx

Food and drink - https://www.revenue.ie/en/vat/vat-on-goods/food-drinks-and-supplements/food-and-drink.aspx]

Help-To-Buy Scheme Expenditure

Ceisteanna (61)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

61. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost in 2019, 2020 and 2021 of the help-to-buy scheme. [52493/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Revenue advise me that they publish a monthly update on the cost of the Help to Buy scheme (HTB) for the current year as the data becomes available. The cost of the scheme in 2019 to end November is €93.9 million. This figure will be updated for the entire year in due course and will be available at the following link:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/htb/htb-monthly.aspx

It should be borne in mind that HTB is a demand led scheme which is subject to a broad range of variables, including housing completion rates and prices. However, based on the projected outturn for this year, the estimated Exchequer cost of extending Help to Buy is some €100m per annum for each of the next two years.

Living City Initiative

Ceisteanna (62)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

62. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance the cost in tax forgone of the living cities initiative. [52494/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Living City Initiative (LCI) (provided for in Finance Act 2013 and commenced on 5 May 2015) is a tax incentive aimed at the regeneration of the historic inner cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford. The scheme provides income or corporation tax relief for qualifying expenditure incurred in refurbishing/converting qualifying buildings which are located within pre-determined 'Special Regeneration Areas' (SRAs).

There are three types of relief available:

1. Owner-occupier residential relief;

2. Rented residential relief; and,

3. Commercial/Retail relief.

The following table outlines the cost/uptake for all 3 elements of the scheme combined between 2013 and 2017 (the most recent year for which data are available).]

Year

No. of claimants

Max Tax Cost (€M)*

Amount claimed (€M)

2017

20

0.1

0.4

2016

15

0.2

0.5

2015

13

0.2

0.5

2014

N/A

0.1

0.2

2013

N/A

0.05

0.1

*assumed at 40% for IT and 12.5% for CT

Finally, as the Deputy may be aware, LCI was due to terminate on 5 May 2020 in accordance with its sunset clause. However, Finance Bill 2019 provides for an extension of the scheme until 31 December 2022. The rationale behind this decision is to allow time for a series of enhancements to the incentive (as provided for in Budget 2017) to take full effect.

Exchequer Revenue

Ceisteanna (63)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

63. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Finance the surplus recorded in 2018 on a GGB basis; and the expected surplus to be recorded in 2019. [52508/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The official outturn for 2018 is compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). This is included in Table 1 of the Economic and Fiscal Outlook published as part of Budget 2020. This table also includes the Department of Finance’s projections of the main economic and fiscal variables, including the general government balance.

The following extract sets out the information the Deputy requested.

-

2018

2019

General Government Balance, per cent of GDP

0.1

0.2

Taking into account the November tax receipts, with all else being equal, a surplus of 0.4 per cent of GDP could instead be in prospect for this year.

The CSO will publish the official outturn for 2019 in April of next year.