Question No. 281 answered with Question No. 75.

Tax Code

Question No. 283 answered with Question No. 46.

Ceisteanna (282)

Mairéad Farrell

Ceist:

282. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Finance if a cut to capital gains tax from its current rate of 33% to 25% will be included in the forthcoming budget as promised in the Fianna Fáil pre-election manifesto; and his views on whether it is fair that those who benefited most over the last decade should now receive a large tax cut. [16651/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that each 1% reduction in the headline rate of CGT is estimated to be €32 million, assuming no behavioural change. Therefore on a straight-line basis the cost of a cut in the CGT rate from its current rate of 33% to 25% is estimated to be €256 million.

The Deputy may be interested in the analysis included at link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/capital-taxes-profile.pdf, which includes information on the incomes of individuals making CGT payments - see Tables 12 and 13 in particular. As can be seen CGT is paid by individuals across all income deciles and therefore any change to the CGT regime would impact all income deciles.

Finally, the Deputy should note that any changes to the CGT regime are considered in the context of the annual Budget and Finance Bill process.

Question No. 283 answered with Question No. 46.

National Asset Management Agency

Ceisteanna (284)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

284. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Finance the series of commitments given by his Department in 2019 to the EU Commission in relation to the request to extend the lifespan of the National Asset Management Agency, NAMA, until 2025, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26867/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

On 25th July 2019 the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a limited extension of NAMA to 2025.

The extension was sought to allow NAMA to continue to work through a small quantum of residual loans in order to maximise the return from these assets to the State. These loans represent less than 1% of what NAMA originally acquired and will be resolved during the period 2021 – 2025 by a much reduced NAMA team which will also manage ongoing litigation appropriately. 

The commitments associated with the extension are contained in the decision published by the European Commission in July 2019 and is available through the following link (https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases1/201933/281016_2088986_136_2.pdf).

For ease, please find the commitments listed below in tabular form:

(a) 

There will be no alteration or expansion of NAMA’s mandate. NAMA commits to disposing its residual residential loans before the end of December 2025 and it is intended that NAMA will be dissolved by that date subject to outstanding litigation.

 (b)

The Irish authorities will not introduce any changes to the NAMA Act 2009 which requires NAMA to act commercially and deal expeditiously with the remaining assets while protecting or otherwise enhancing the value of those assets in the interests of the State.

 (c)

NAMA will not provide new development funding for its remaining assets for the period beyond end December 2021. Funding is envisaged to continue to be provided for asset management work (including infrastructural works designed to enhance site values) and to fund the process of securing appropriate planning approvals for sites securing the residual residential loans. Such funding will continue to be provided on a commercial basis and terms will be market conform.

 (d)

NAMA will continue to act as a Market Economy Operator with regard to the management and disposal of its post-2021 residual portfolio.

 (e)

The Irish Authorities will continue to submit yearly reports on the use of certain powers under the NAMA Act 2009 to the EU Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, as provided for in paragraph 74(vii) of the 2010 Decision.

 (f)

Every year from 2021 until NAMA’s dissolution, the Irish Authorities will submit an annual report to the EU Commission providing an update on the progress that NAMA has made towards deleveraging its residual portfolio.  

 (g)

NAMA and the Irish Authorities agree not to issue any additional State guaranteed NAMA bonds.

Budget Process

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 260.

Ceisteanna (285)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

285. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Finance if a submission compiled by a group (details supplied) in respect of budget 2021 will be given consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26879/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I would like to thank the Deputy for the pre-Budget submission on the over 70s, Covid-19 and the household benefits package. I want to reassure you that the issues raised in the report are very important ones and will be considered in the context of Budget 2021.

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 260.

Insurance Industry

Question No. 288 answered with Question No. 75.

Ceisteanna (287)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

287. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Finance the progress on reforming the insurance sector; if the Cabinet sub-committee to deal with insurance reform has convened; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26955/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I would like to begin by assuring the Deputy that insurance reform is a key priority for this Government and this is reflected in the Programme for Government.  Implementation of this agenda is a key issue for myself and Minister of State Fleming as well as my other Cabinet colleagues, especially those that will be working with my Department on this issue.

As the Deputy is aware, the “Programme for Government – Our shared Future” document lays out commitments that are aimed at addressing consumer and business concerns on the cost of insurance. These include increasing transparency; reviewing duty of care legislation; looking at how to further enhance the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, and increasing competition in the market.  Making progress on this work will involve a cross-departmental approach and will build and expand upon previous work done by the Cost of Insurance Working Group.

The issue of insurance reform was the subject of discussion at a recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment and there have also been a number of meetings, held at Ministerial level, chaired by An Tánaiste on the issue of insurance since the formation of the Government in July. Work is progressing to ensure that this agenda can be implemented in a coordinated fashion in order to ensure maximum effect and benefit for insurance policyholders.  In that regard, both the Tánaiste and I are keen to progress a Whole-of-Government structure which will ensure these reforms can be implemented in an effective and timely manner.

In conclusion, the Deputy can rest assured that insurance reform is a key priority issue for the new Government and that Minister of State Fleming and our officials are working to ensure that progress is made in this policy area.

Question No. 288 answered with Question No. 75.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

Question Nos. 290 to 292, inclusive, answered with Question No. 59.

Ceisteanna (289)

Cormac Devlin

Ceist:

289. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact a company (details supplied) is having difficulty accessing employment wage subsidy scheme and may have to cease trading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26997/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the business in question could not access the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) because it failed to file payroll submissions in respect of February and March 2020. The TWSS, which ceased on 31 August 2020, was a fully automated solution designed around Revenue’s real-time PAYE (employer) system and could not operate where employers failed to meet their statutory PAYE return filing obligations.

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) was introduced as part of the July Stimulus Package and replaced the TWSS from 1 September 2020. The scheme provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the number of qualifying employees on their payroll. For every qualifying employee paid between €203 and €1,462 in gross wages per week, the level of subsidy is €203.  For every qualifying employee paid between €151.50 and €202.99 in gross wages per week, the subsidy is €151.50.  No subsidy is paid for employees paid less than €151.50 gross per week or more than €1,462 gross per week.  Payment of the EWSS will be made following receipt of the regular monthly payroll return to Revenue which is due on the 14th of the month following payment of the emoluments. The intention is that payments in respect of September will be made in mid-October.

Revenue has confirmed that the business registered for the EWSS on 27 August 2020. If it has concerns or requires any specific advice regarding the EWSS registration process or the eligibility requirements, it should contact Revenue’s National Employer Helpline at the telephone number 01-7383638. The company may also be eligible for a ‘sweepback’ payment of EWSS for July and August 2020 in respect of new hires or seasonal workers that were not previously included in the TWSS. Further information on the EWSS ‘sweepback’ is available on the Revenue website at the link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/employing-people/documents/ewss/ewss-sweepback-guidelines.pdf

Question Nos. 290 to 292, inclusive, answered with Question No. 59.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Ceisteanna (293)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

293. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Finance the total Covid-19 related expenditure incurred by his Department to date; and if this will be counted a pre-committed expenditure for budget 2021. [27044/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

My Department has spent €306,104 on non-pay Covid-19 related expenditure. This is not pre-committed expenditure for budget 2021.  However, my Department has sought a similar allocation to cover certain Covid-19 related expenses expected in 2021.

Some of the Department's staff were assigned as part of the temporary reassignment scheme in response to Covid-19. My Department continued to meet their payroll costs and details of these costs will follow as it was not possible to respond in full with this information in the time available. I will therefore make arrangements to provide a response in line with Standing Orders.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Ceisteanna (294)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

294. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Finance the total Covid-19 related expenditure over and above his Department's 2020 budget; and if this additional expenditure will be factored into the base in budget 2021 or if it will be repeated as Covid-19 related expenditure in budget 2021. [27045/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

All Covid-19 related expenditure incurred from my Department's Vote has been kept within the total amount allocated to the Department in the 2020 budget.

Ministerial Advisers

Ceisteanna (295)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

295. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if a schedule of advisers and special advisers appointed and-or recruited by him since his appointment will be provided; the roles and responsibilities attributed to each; and the salary for each appointee, in tabular form. [27052/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I wish to inform the Deputy that on the commencement of every Dáil, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issues guidelines setting out the arrangements for the staffing of Ministerial Offices. The appointment of Special Advisers is subject to section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997.

The Guidelines for the 33rd Dáil, which incorporate the principles of section 11 of the PMSA Act, have been approved by Government. 

The appointment of individual Special Advisers is a matter for each Government Minister subject to the terms set out in the aforementioned guidelines, although the appointments are also subject to formal Government approval.  At this stage, no Special Advisers have been formally appointed to my Department by the Government. 

However, the Deputy may wish to note that I have re-engaged the two Special Advisers who worked with me during the 32nd Dáil, which is subject to Government approval. Both are paid €101,114.00 per annum (Point 5 of the Principal Standard PPC scale).

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform must be notified of the rate of salary to be paid in all cases for Special Advisers; These rates will then be published on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Special Advisers are appointed under Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. A Special Adviser to a Minister or to a Minister of State, as in the case may be, shall

(a) assist the Minister or Minister of State, as the case may be, by –

(i) providing advice,

(ii) Monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of the Government objectives that relate to the Department, as requested by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be, and

(ii) Performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be that are not otherwise provided for in this Act and do not involve the exercise of any specific powers conferred on the Minister or the Minister of State as the case may be or any other office holder by or under any other Act.

Revenue Commissioners

Ceisteanna (296)

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

296. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost in 2021 of purchasing two extra mobile X-ray scanner trunks for the Revenue Commissioners. [27141/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners that it plans to purchase one new mobile container scanner in 2021 to replace one that has reached end-of-life.

It is expected that the total cost for the new scanner will be approximately €1.8m. Revenue has applied for a grant from OLAF (the European Anti-Fraud office) under the Hercule III Programme to fund up to 80% of the cost of this scanner.

Revenue has confirmed that the current number of mobile scanners meets its operational needs. This is kept under review, having regard to ongoing risk assessment and evolving operational needs.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Ceisteanna (297)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

297. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding staycations here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27145/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The purpose of the Stay and Spend Incentive (SASI) is to incentivise taxpayers to support registered/accredited providers of accommodation and/or food during the off-season, thus providing support to a particularly vulnerable sector that will continue to be constrained by public health limitations. All food service providers and Fáilte Ireland registered or listed providers of accommodation are eligible to take part in the scheme.  The scheme will be become operational on 1 October and is due to cease at the end of next April.

It will provide a maximum of €125 in income tax credits to tax-payers who spend up to €625 in restaurants, pubs, hotels, B&Bs and so on, in the period from October to the end of next April. Where an individual or jointly assessed tax-payer has insufficient income tax liability to fully benefit from the measure, they may still avail of the relief against their USC contributions.

Revenue have advised me that registrations can continue to be made in respect of qualifying service providers both before and during lifetime of the scheme. Fáilte Ireland is marketing the scheme and has been involved in sectoral/industry marketing and marketing to the public.  That marketing included highlighting the requirement to register with Revenue and the ease in so doing.  The marketing campaign was also supported by Fáilte Ireland sending out marketing content, logos, etc. to registered businesses to assist them in publicising their participation in the incentive scheme.

Details of the qualifying service providers are published on the Revenue website.  For the ease of citizens searching for Stay and Spend service providers, the listing can be searched by County and by type of service.  As of 24 September 2020, there were 1,375 service providers listed on the website across the 26 Counties.

Cycle to Work Scheme

Ceisteanna (298)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

298. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Finance if a person can avail of the bike-to-work scheme if he or she works from home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27146/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Section 118 (5G) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for the cycle to work scheme. It requires that the employee must mainly use the bicycle and safety equipment for qualifying journeys. This means the whole or part of a journey between home and the normal place of work.

The Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No. 2) Act 2020 made some changes to the scheme, increasing the exemption limit from €1,000 to €1,250 or, in the case of electric bikes, to €1,500 for employer expenditure on the provision of bicycles and associated safety equipment, and also enabling employees to avail of the scheme more frequently.

No other changes have been made to the scheme, so the COVID-19 pandemic should not adversely impact on an employee’s entitlement to the Benefit In Kind exemption provided under section 118(5G).

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (299)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

299. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which he has had discussions in the context of the operation of the financial services here post-Brexit; if he remains satisfied that the new emerging situation will not damage the sector here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27244/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I expect the character and composition of Ireland’s international financial services sector is going to fundamentally change in a number of ways as a result of the extensive financial services investments won in recent years, including Brexit relocations and the pipeline of future projects. The industry in Ireland is going to become deeper and more diverse. My Department has been working with other relevant Departments and state agencies, such as the IDA, to fully capture any opportunities for inward investment that emerge through promoting Ireland as a committed English-speaking member of the EU with unfettered access to the EU Single Market, our continued access to EU talent and that of the Common Travel Area, in addition to our pro-business environment underpinned by a strong, fully-independent financial services regulator in the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Central Bank of Ireland has been focused on the impact of Brexit on financial stability, for which it has statutory responsibility, since before the UK referendum. It is working closely with financial services firms to ensure that they have contingency plans in place for the end of the transition period on 31 December, and that they are adequately prepared to cope with the possible effects of Brexit, with as little disruption for consumers, investors and markets as possible. On the basis of its work and engagement across the sector, the Central Bank has been able to assure me that, while some level of market disruption is inevitable, the financial system as a whole should be resilient enough to withstand a hard Brexit and that the most material ‘cliff edge’ financial stability risks arising from Brexit have been largely mitigated.

Furthermore, my Department recently worked with the ESRI on an examination of the sectoral overlap of COVID-19 and Brexit shocks, which found that there is limited overlap in the sectors exposed to the different shocks, and limited connection between the sectors exposed to each shock. In this regard, exposures to Brexit in the area of financial services should not be magnified by additional exposure to Covid-19.

The 2020 Brexit Bill includes a number of measures which will minimise disruption. This includes measures in relation to settlement finality, and to enable UK and Gibraltar insurance undertakings and intermediaries to continue to fulfil contractual obligations to their Irish customers following the end of the transition period.

On Tuesday 22 September the milestone of 100 days left until the end of the transition period passed.  Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations between the EU and the UK on the future relationship, the UK will not have the same access to the EU’s Single Market for financial services that it enjoys today. This will mean change. The Brexit Readiness Action Plan, published by the Government on 9 September, clearly sets out that firms in the financial services sector should finalise their readiness and contingency plans and take necessary actions in accordance with the relevant European Commission guidance. In addition, the Central Bank website contains FAQs on Brexit which are targeted at both financial services firms and consumers. My Department will continue to work closely with the Central Bank of Ireland and the NTMA to monitor the situation as we get closer to the end of transition, and to identify any emerging risks.

Brexit Preparations

Question No. 301 answered with Question No. 75.

Ceisteanna (300)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

300. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which he sees the double threat from Covid-19 and Brexit to impact on the economy here; if he remains satisfied that provision can be made to cater for the challenges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27245/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As COVID-19 and a no deal Brexit represent key concurrent challenges facing the Irish economy, the interrelationship of the two economic shocks is an important consideration for Ireland’s short-term economic prospects.  

Accordingly, my Department has, along with the ESRI, conducted an analysis of the sectoral overlap of the COVID-19 and no deal Brexit shocks. The main finding of the analysis is that the overlap of the sectors exposed to the different shocks is found to be limited. The sectors most exposed to both the COVID-19 and no deal Brexit shocks appear to be distinct and relatively unconnected. Having assessed the impact of no deal Brexit and COVID-19 on 57 sectors of the economy, no sector was found to be severely exposed to both shocks. The research also examines interlinkages between the exposed sectors in terms of domestic supply chains. It found that sectors that are severely affected by COVID-19 typically sell a greater share of their output to sectors that are likely to be relatively unaffected by Brexit and vice versa. This implies relatively limited exposure of producers to their customers experiencing one of the shocks while they experience the other shock. Overall, the analysis suggests that while a combined shock from a no deal Brexit and COVID-19 results in a wider range of sectors exposed to risk, the impacts of each shock to the overall economy are not magnified by spill-overs between the two effects. However, it is important to note that as the analysis was conducted at the sectoral level, the impacts may vary at a firm level with some firms possibly facing a double shock from both COVID-19 and a no deal Brexit. Moreover, it is likely that the capacity of businesses and households to manage a second economic shock will be more limited. My Department will publish updated macroeconomic forecasts as part of Budget 2021 which will take account of the impact of both COVID-19 and a no deal Brexit on the economy. 

We face these challenges from a position of strength, including running a budget surplus last year.  The Government's responsible economic management has allowed us to direct an unprecedented level of resources to addressing these challenges.  Further targeted measures to support businesses and affected sectors prepare and adapt will be considered in the context of Budget 2021 which will be based on the assumption of a disorderly Brexit.

Question No. 301 answered with Question No. 75.

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (302)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

302. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the degree to which he expects to be in a position to incentivise alternatives to fossil fuels in the short and medium term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27247/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The 2019 Climate Action Plan charts an ambitious pathway to reduced carbon emissions by 2030 which includes a series of measures to phase out fossil fuel usage across all sectors while the Programme for Government augments the Climate Action Plan by committing to reduce emissions by an average of 7 per cent per annum through the decade.

If the Deputy is seeking information in relation to specific tax measures, he will be aware that it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.  

Banking Sector

Ceisteanna (303)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

303. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to discourage entrants into the banking or insurance sector here by applicants seeking market share to distort the market and, subsequently, exiting with no apparent penalties; the number of banking and insurance companies that have done so in the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27248/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been the competent authority for issuing banking licences since 2014.

Banking licences for institutions to be domiciled in Ireland are only issued once the Central Bank and ECB are satisfied that the business model of an applicant is viable and sustainable.

I have been advised by the Central Bank that in the past ten years, three new licences have been issued. Over the same period, twenty five banks revoked their banking licence.

The European licence passporting mechanism also enables European Economic Area banks to provide services in Ireland either through a physical presence or on a cross border basis.

The Central Bank does not have a role in the prudential authorisation of such activity, which is the responsibility of the Home Country Supervisory Authority.

Insurance firms seeking authorisation in Ireland are subject to robust review. Details on the authorisation process is set out on the Central Bank’s website (see link 1 below).

The Solvency II Directive also enables European Economic Area insurance companies to provide insurance in Ireland either through a physical presence or on a cross border basis.

These firms are subject to Irish General Good Requirements for Insurance Undertaking (see link 2 below) and are under the prudential supervision of their Home Country Supervisory Authority.

I have been advised by the Central Bank that in the past ten years, 30 Non-Life & Life (non-captive) licences have been issued. Over the same period, 75 Non-Life & Life firms (non-captive) revoked their licence.

Registers of insurance firms notified as operating in Ireland are available on the Central Bank’s website (see link 3 below).

While competition in the market is important, the Central Bank expects all regulated firms to take a consumer centric approach and to act and in their customers’ best interests at all times.

Regulated firms must act in accordance with the requirements of financial services legislation, including Central Bank Codes.

The consumer protection framework protects consumers and ensures they are treated fairly by regulated entities.

This commitment is strongly affirmed in the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 (see link 4 below), which provides that a regulated firm must ensure that in all its dealings with customers and within the context of its authorisation it acts honestly, fairly and professionally in the best interests of its customers and the integrity of the market.

1. https://centralbank.ie/regulation/how-we-regulate/authorisation

2. https://www.centralbank.ie/docs/default-source/regulation/industry-market-sectors/

insurance-reinsurance/solvency-ii/requirements-and-guidance/general-good-requirements-for-insurance-undertakings-2019.pdf?sfvrsn=6

3. http://registers.centralbank.ie/

4. https://www.centralbank.ie/regulation/consumer-protection/consumer-protection-codes-regulations

Financial Services Sector

Question No. 305 answered with Question No. 49.

Ceisteanna (304)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

304. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the degree to which he has examined opportunities in the financial services sector for the financial sector here in the aftermath of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27250/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

‘Ireland for Finance’, launched in April 2019, is a whole of government strategy for the development of the international financial services sector to 2025.  The Strategy is structured around action measures grouped under four pillars: Operating Environment, Technology and Innovation, Talent, and Communications and Promotion. There are also three horizontal priorities which apply across the four pillars: regionalisation, sustainable finance, and workplace diversity.  The vision of this strategy is for Ireland to be a top-tier location of choice for specialist international financial services and to enhance and protect our future competitiveness. The employment target for the Strategy is to reach 50,000 people in direct employment in the sector by 2025. According to the enterprise agencies, at the end of 2019, approximately 47,000 jobs are in international financial services, this is an increase of approximately 11,500 net new jobs in the five years since 2015.

The Ireland for Finance strategy is the successor to the IFS2020 strategy and a succession of Government strategies for the development of the international financial services strategy in Ireland.  It is important to note that the IFS2020 Strategy had been in place long before the UK decision to leave the EU. The Ireland for Finance strategy provides a clear roadmap to maximise any opportunities that might arise.

I’m pleased to report that the Ireland for Finance strategy was included in the Programme for Government and we expect to bring an updated Ireland for Finance Action Plan 2020 to Government for approval and publication in the next few weeks.  Stakeholders have been engaging on action measures in the draft Plan throughout 2020.

Minister of State Fleming and our officials have also started work on Ireland for Finance Action Plan 2021. All representative bodies and key stakeholders have been invited to return their proposals for action measures for 2021. The Ireland for Finance strategy and the Action Plan for 2021 will be informed by EU developments and the important work that the Ireland for Finance team have been carrying out with the European Commission on their consultations on Fintech and Sustainable Finance.

The 2021 Plan will also consider what measures may assist the national recovery, minimise Covid 19 impacts, and increase preparedness for Brexit. We believe that this 2021 Plan should be the focus of our energies in this regard and would be advocating that it would be brought to Government after it is finalised at the Joint Committee meeting in Q4 of this year for publication early in 2021.

 Since the Brexit referendum in UK, we can point to the success of Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in banking plus the many investment firms who have chosen Ireland as their European base such as Legal and General and Aberdeen Standard. Three of the largest market infrastructure players in their respective markets have made Ireland their post Brexit location for their European business, namely Refinitiv, Equilend and DTCC. Marine insurers The Standard Club, and North P&I Club are also establishing operations here.

Kroll/KBRA became the first ratings agency to announce that their EU HQ location would be in Dublin and this was followed by S&P’s announcement in December 2017 that Dublin would become their EMEA HQ.

The Government and the state agencies, such as IDA, continue to work to fully capture any opportunities for inward investment that emerge through promoting Ireland as a committed English-speaking member of the EU with unfettered access to the EU Single Market, our continued access to EU talent and that of the Common Travel Area, in addition to our pro-business environment underpinned by a strong, fully-independent financial services regulator in the Central Bank of Ireland.

The character and composition of Ireland’s international financial services sector is going to fundamentally change in a number of ways as a result of the extensive financial services investments won in recent years, including Brexit relocations and the pipeline of future projects. The industry in Ireland is going to become deeper and more diverse.

The real impact of Brexit for the industry in Ireland may not materialise for some years. At present, firms are establishing the foundations of a new or significantly expanded presence in Ireland, while simultaneously meeting regulatory requirements, reconfiguring their overall EU business, and monitoring the process of the UK exit from the EU. When this phase is complete, they will then begin to consider future plans and ways in which to leverage and develop their new Irish entities. The future conversations with firms will be around back, middle and front office activities, product range and distribution, service offering, digital transformation, innovation and optimisation. 

Question No. 305 answered with Question No. 49.

Mortgage Data

Ceisteanna (306)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

306. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the extent of the information available in respect of mortgages in arrears purchased by investment funds, with particular reference to the price at which such loans or arrears were purchased by the funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27253/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

In their statistical release on Residential Mortgage Arrears Statistics, the Central Bank publishes a range of data on the number of mortgages and mortgage arrears.  This publication details quarterly developments in the number and value of mortgages in arrears covering all residential properties in Ireland. The collected data covers bank and non-bank entities. All entities holding mortgage loans in Ireland are required to be authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and fall into three authorisation groups: Banks, Retail Credit Firms and Credit Servicing Firms. Further detail on authorised institutions can be found here. A detailed overview of mortgages held by banks and non-banks is available as part of the published mortgage arrears statistics here. Investment Funds that have purchased mortgages directly will be included in the Credit Servicing Firms group. The Central Bank advised that, in some cases, investment funds may purchase residential mortgage backed securities but such data is not captured in the Bank's statistics.

The price paid for mortgages which have been purchased by investment funds is confidential information to the firms involved in the particular transaction and is not available in mortgage data as published by the Central Bank.