Header Item Written Answers Nos. 31-53
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Jobseeker's Allowance Data
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Operation
 Header Item Jobseeker's Allowance Data
 Header Item Home-makers Scheme
 Header Item Fuel Allowance Data
 Header Item State Pension (Contributory) Data
 Header Item Departmental Offices
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Funding
 Header Item Universal Social Charge Yield
 Header Item Tax Relief Application
 Header Item NAMA Property Leases
 Header Item Consumer Protection
 Header Item Disabled Drivers Grant Appeals
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Tax Rebates
 Header Item Universal Social Charge Application
 Header Item National Minimum Wage
 Header Item Debt Conference
 Header Item National Debt

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 867 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 75 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 31-53

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 31. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a carer’s allowance appeal will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.  [6167/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, decided to disallow or allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision on 8 December 2014.

  Following receipt of additional information the Appeals Officer has set aside her decision and has decided to re-open the appeal by way of granting an oral hearing of the case. The oral hearing will be heard by a different Appeals Officer and the person concerned will be advised of the arrangements for the hearing when finalised.     

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Jobseeker's Allowance Data

 32. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the current number of claimants on jobseeker schemes who are 65 years of age and over. [6190/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton There was a total of 4,738 recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit at the end of January 2015 who were 65 years of age and over. A further 2,812 persons in this age category were signing for credits at that date. A breakdown of these claimants is detailed in the tabular statement.

Jobseeker scheme recipients aged 65 years or over at the end of January 2015  

Jobseeker’s Allowance
Jobseeker’s Benefit
Jobseeker’s Benefit Credits Only
Total
2,373
2,365
2,812
7,550

Community Employment Schemes Operation

 33. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton her views on the relaxation of the current time limits and capping rules, placed on participants of community employment schemes, who are a year off retirement; if she will grant these participants a special exemption to allow them to work until they are 66 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6231/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys There are no plans to relax the current participation limits placed on participants of community employment (CE) schemes who may be just a year off retirement and there are no plans to grant those that fall into this category a special exemption to be allowed to work on CE until they reach 66 years of age (state pension age). These requirements are there to ensure that there are adequate places available to long-term unemployed and other vulnerable groups to participate on CE and gain qualifications for to enable them to gain employment.

Jobseeker's Allowance Data

 34. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of claimants in County Donegal who are on the live register in 2015 and are signing on as casuals on a qualifying jobseeker's benefit-jobseeker's allowance payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [6233/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Information relating to a claimant’s address is not currently coded to the geographical location of the address. As such it is not possible to accurately report persons on the live register living in a particular area at present.

  Location information in respect of people on the live register is however recorded on the basis of the local office/Intreo centre which is used to serve their needs. In this regard, the number of people “signing on” the live register as casual workers on a qualifying jobseeker's benefit/jobseeker's allowance payment in one of the Department of Social Protection’s offices in Donegal at the end of January 2015 was 5,214.

  A breakdown of this number by scheme and local office/intreo centre is detailed in the tabular statement.

  Number of casual workers signing for qualifying Jobseeker’s Allowance/Benefit on the live register in Donegal Local Offices/INTREO centres at the end of January 2015

Local Office/INTREO centre
Jobseeker’s Allowance
Jobseeker’s Benefit
Total
Ballybofey
513
115
628
Ballyshannon
327
121
448
Buncrana
841
130
971
Donegal
296
220
516
Dunfanaghy
225
69
294
Dungloe
375
128
503
Killybegs
263
291
554
Letterkenny
1,053
247
1,300
Total
3,893
1,321
5,214

Home-makers Scheme

 35. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if there is a system set-up whereby a person can reclaim credited contributions, if they are entitled to, and did not sign on for before 1994, when the home-maker credits were introduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6234/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The homemaker’s scheme was introduced in 1994 to make qualification for State pension contributory (SPC) easier for those who take time out of the workforce for caring duties. The scheme allows up to 20 years spent caring for children under 12 years of age, or incapacitated people, to be disregarded when a person’s social insurance record is being calculated for pension purposes. The effect of this is to reduce the number of years by which the person’s contributions are divided, thereby increasing their yearly average, making it easier for them to qualify for a maximum rate SPC. It does not, therefore, involve the award of credits.

To be eligible for the homemaker’s scheme, a person must:

- Permanently live in the State (exception may be made where EU regulations apply),

- Be aged under 66,

- Have started insurable employment or self-employment before the age of 56,

- Not work full-time, although for the purposes of this scheme, a person can work and earn less than €38 gross per week,

- Care for a child (under 12) or an incapacitated person on a full-time basis.

It is important to note that the homemaker’s scheme will not, of itself, qualify a person for a SPC. The standard qualifying conditions for the SPC must also be satisfied. These require a person to enter insurable employment at least ten years before pension age, pay a minimum of 520 contributions at the correct rate (credited contributions do not satisfy this condition) and achieve a yearly average of at least 10 contributions paid or credited on their record.

Where someone age 66 or over does not satisfy the conditions to qualify for a SPC, or qualifies for less than the maximum rate, they may instead qualify for one the following:

- The means-tested State pension (non-contributory). The maximum personal rate of this pension is €219, which may be payable if their means are no more than €30 per week. A reduced rate may be payable if their means are no more than €245 per week. A living alone allowance may also be paid, where applicable.

- If a spouse receives the SPC, the other spouse may receive a payment, known as an increase for qualified adult (IQA), which may be up to €206.30 per week.

- If widowed, they may qualify for a widow's contributory pension, which they may claim either based on their spouse’s or their own social insurance record. The qualifying conditions for this require fewer contributions paid (260) than the SPC, and the maximum personal rate for those aged 66 or over is €230.30.

Where a person qualifies for more than one of the above payments, they are paid under the pension that is most advantageous to them.

The homemaker’s scheme was introduced from 1994, and as with most schemes, this was without retrospective effect. Costs in relation to this scheme, under the current rules, are expected to increase in the coming years due to the increase in female employment rates since 1994. The cost of backdating was considered in the context of the Green Paper on Pensions in 2007. At that time, very tentative estimates suggested that the cost of backdating to 1953 would be approximately €160 million annually. These additional costs would be very significant and consequently, the Government has no plans to backdate this scheme prior to 1994. Any decision to change the scheme would have budgetary consequences and would have to be considered in the context of budget negotiations.

Fuel Allowance Data

 36. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of applicants in receipt of a winter fuel allowance at the start of the 2014-2015 season who had their eligibility revoked due to a social welfare payment change, that is, applicants on jobseeker's allowance changing to illness benefit, in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [6236/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The information requested by the Deputy is not routinely collated in my Department.

State Pension (Contributory) Data

 37. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will provide the figures, categorised on the basis of sex, for the number of persons who are currently in receipt of reduced State contributory pensions, due to the rate band changes she implemented on 1 September 2012, whereby rate band 20 to 47 was abolished and replaced by rate bands 20 to 29, 30 to 39 and 40 to 47; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6253/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available and has been requested. The Department will contact the Deputy directly when the information becomes available.

Departmental Offices

 38. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton her views on a complaint regarding the treatment of people collecting benefits (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6257/15]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Intreo Centre in Parnell Street caters for well in excess of 10,000 clients, many of whom have regular engagements of various types with the office. In the context of such a large clientele, the amount of complaints received concerning the office is minimal. The most recent statistics available show that in the last 3 months there has been less than 10 complaints received via the complaints procedure on the Department’s website in relation to the office. Additionally an even smaller number of individual complaints have been made in writing.

In relation to the nature of the complaints, only 2 of these concerned difficulties that clients experienced with regard to the manner in which they were dealt with in the office. These are being handled by directly contacting the clients concerned. The other issues raised, which include calculation of overpayments and reasons for decisions made, are also being handled currently or have been resolved.

There are currently 12 clients required to attend the office to sign on a daily basis. The option to request a client to sign daily can be taken in certain circumstances. Such circumstances can be when a client has a record of persistently signing late, an officer has formed the opinion that there a strong likelihood that a client may be currently in employment in the black economy, or a Deciding Officer is of the opinion that a client is not making sufficient efforts to seek employment or to avail of training opportunities. In most cases daily signing is supplemented by frequent interviews monitoring a client’s progress in seeking employment and/or training. The success rate of this approach is high; the majority of clients required to sign daily will avail of one of the Department’s Labour Activation measures within a short timeframe.

Community Employment Schemes Funding

 39. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if consideration will be given to reversing cuts to the pensions and other rights of persons participating in community employment schemes contained in section 7 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6272/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys There are no plans to allow new participants on the Community Employment (CE) programme to retain their original social welfare payments while employed on the scheme and receiving concurrent CE allowances. The main enactment of this measure was contained in Section 12 of the Social Welfare Act 2011. The main purpose of CE is to assist and support long-term unemployed and other vulnerable groups to gain the necessary skills and confidence with a view to gaining employment.

Universal Social Charge Yield

 40. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount collected by the State in 2014 from the 2% band of the universal social charge. [6195/15]

 41. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount collected by the State in 2014 from the 4% band of the universal social charge. [6196/15]

 42. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount collected by the State in 2014 from the 7% band of the universal social charge. [6197/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 to 42, inclusive, together.

  I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a breakdown of Universal Social Charge (USC) collected at each rate for the tax year 2012, the latest year for which data are available, is set out in the table below.

USC Rate USC Collected (€m)
2%360
4%500
7%2,880

Tax Relief Application

 43. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his views on lowering the limit to claim back tax on charitable donations, particularly with respect to encouraging persons to donate to voluntary and community initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6201/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Section 848A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides tax relief at a blended rate of 31% on donations made by individuals to eligible charities and other approved bodies. In order to qualify for the tax relief currently, a minimum donation of €250 per annum must be made to the body concerned. 

As the Deputy may be aware, changes were made to the scheme of tax relief for donations to approved bodies in Finance Act 2013 as follows:

- Donations from all individual donors under the scheme are treated in the same manner, with the tax relief in all cases being repaid to the charity.

- A blended rate of relief of 31% applies to all taxpayers regardless of their marginal tax rate. All donations are grossed up as was previously done for donations from individuals within the PAYE collection system.

- The charitable donations scheme has been removed from the scope of the high earners' restriction in recognition of the fact that donors will no longer benefit from the tax relief associated with their donations.

- An annual donation limit of €1 million per individual, for which a refund of income tax can be claimed by approved bodies, has been applied.

These changes were made following a process of engagement between officials at the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners with representatives of the charities sector from the Irish Charities Tax Reform Group (ICTR).

The objectives of that process were threefold: (i) to simplify the operation of the regime, (ii) to reduce the administrative overheads on charities and on the Revenue Commissioners incurred in the operation of the scheme, and (iii) to ensure that any change would be Revenue neutral from the Exchequer perspective. The proposals for the changes were also recommended in the Report of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising.

The €250 threshold has not changed since it was introduced in 2002. Normal inflation levels effectively have reduced the value of the threshold over time. In addition, the donations scheme was introduced to encourage the donation of large sums of money to charities and certain other bodies. It was never envisaged that the scheme should subsidise smaller donations, which in all likelihood, would be made in any event.

The tax relief available for donations is already very generous and donations can be cumulative, such that a donation of just €5 per week over the course of a year would qualify. However, tax relief is no longer provided to individual donors and is refunded directly to the approved bodies. It is therefore questionable as to whether reducing the €250 limit would result in additional donations.

NAMA Property Leases

 44. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will address concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding a proposal by a person to establish a small business in a property controlled by the National Asset Management Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6206/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan As the Deputy will be aware, NAMA is not the owner or operator of properties.  NAMA's role is, like a bank, that of a secured lender.  Other than properties that have been enforced, all of which are listed on NAMA's website and which are managed by the appointed receivers/administrators, properties continue to be managed by their existing owners or their professional managers/agents albeit NAMA takes a very close interest in their efficient management and sale with a view to maximum loan repayment in order to protect the position of Irish taxpayers.

  Against this background and as this is a clearly a commercial matter between the owner of the property in question and the interested party it would not be appropriate for me to comment.  However, in order to be helpful, I am advised by NAMA that should the interested party wish to raise any issue of concern with it regarding their engagement with the property owner, they can contact NAMA directly through its dedicated email address for members of the public, info@nama.ie.  In its capacity as a secured lender, NAMA will facilitate engagement between the relevant parties as appropriate.

  I would like to advise the Deputy that should you wish to contact NAMA directly on any matter of importance to your constituents you can do so on oir@nama.ie. This e-mail was set up specifically to deal with queries from Members of the Oireachtas on NAMA, it is regularly monitored and you will receive a prompt reply.

Consumer Protection

 45. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the action that will be taken to deal with the very serious issues raised in the Raidió Teilifís Éireann "Primetime" programme on 5 February 2015, regarding a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6228/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Central Bank has informed me that it cannot comment on its engagement with individual entities.

  The Bank has also informed me that the company to which the question refers is not regulated by the Central Bank.  The Central Bank Act 1997 contains a number of exclusions from the requirement to be authorised by the Central Bank and firms that meet the relevant criteria can avail of such exclusions.  Separately, this Act also contains a number of exemptions from the requirement to be authorised by the Central Bank.  To date the Central Bank has granted an exemption to 14 entities but Home Funding Corporation Limited is not one of the entities granted such an exemption.   

  The Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Bill 2015 will protect borrowers in the situation described in the programme when it is enacted.

  It will do this by requiring the entities dealing with the consumer to be authorised by the Central Bank and subject to its Codes of Conduct.  Dealing with the consumer is credit servicing and the definition of credit servicing is broad. Owners of loan books who deal directly with consumers, that is, who are servicing their own loan books, will be regulated. Otherwise they can have the loan book serviced by a regulated credit servicing firm.

  Some of the allegations made in the programme allege criminal wrongdoing and this is a matter for An Garda Síochána.

In Ireland, money laundering has been treated as a very serious offence since the passing of the Criminal Justice Act in 1994.  

  The law in this area was updated by the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, as amended by Part 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 2013 ("the Act"). The Act transposes the current European Union Law on AML (the Third Money Laundering Directive (2005/60/EC) and its Implementing Directive (2006/70/EC)) into Irish Law.

Disabled Drivers Grant Appeals

 46. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the position regarding a disabled drivers scheme appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6229/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax (up to a certain limit) on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities, and exemption from motor tax in respect of that vehicle and, up to a certain limit, assistance in respect of fuel costs. To qualify for the scheme, an applicant must hold a Primary Medical Certificate.

  To be eligible for a Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must be permanently and severely disabled and satisfy one of the following conditions outlined in Regulation 3 of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (S.I. 353 of 1994) which provides that a person shall be assessed by reference to any one or more of the following medical criteria:

  1.   persons who are wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;
  2.   persons wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;
  3.   persons without both hands or without both arms;
  4.   persons without one or both legs;
  5.   persons wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;
  6.   persons having the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.
The Senior Medical Officer for the relevant local Health Service Executive administrative area makes a professional clinical determination as to whether an individual applicant satisfies the medical criteria required to receive a Primary Medical Certificate. A successful applicant is provided with a Primary Medical Certificate, which is required to claim the reliefs provided for in the Regulations.   An unsuccessful applicant can appeal the decision of the Senior Medical Officer to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, which makes a new clinical determination in respect of the individual. Regulation 6(1)(e) of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations, 1994 (S.I. 353 of 1994) provides that the Medical Board of Appeal is independent in the exercise of its functions.

Tax Code

 47. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if a person who carried out home improvement works in 2012 is entitled to benefit from tax incentives.  [6254/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I would advise the Deputy that unlike the Home Renovation Incentive that is currently in place, there were no specific tax incentives available for individuals who carried out home improvement works in 2012. However, Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) is available in respect of interest paid on qualifying loans used to purchase, repair, develop or improve a home.

In order for a loan to qualify for MIR, loan approval must have been in place before the end of 2012. In addition, part of the loan must have been used in 2012. As the Deputy may be aware, where an individual is in receipt of MIR, they will continue to qualify for such relief up until the end of 2017.

Tax Rebates

 48. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is due a tax refund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6262/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have contacted the person concerned to request Form P60 for 2014.

  On receipt of the form, a review of the individual s tax liability will be dealt with and a PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) will be issued.

Universal Social Charge Application

 49. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the projected cost to the Exchequer in 2015 for reducing the rate of universal social charge on income over €100,000 to 8% for the self-employed. [6301/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated first and full year cost to the Exchequer of reducing the Universal Social Charge (USC) on self-employed income in excess of €100,000 from 11% to 8% is €54 million and €125 million respectively.

All figures above are estimates for 2015, using the actual data for the year 2012 (the latest year for which data are available) adjusted as necessary for income, self-employment and employment trends in the interim. They are provisional and may be revised.

National Minimum Wage

 50. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide, in tabular form, the projected increase in tax revenue in 2015 if the national minimum wage was increased to €9.65; to €10.65; and to €11.45.  [6302/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that workers earning the minimum wage are not separately identified on Revenue records, and therefore it is not possible to estimate the additional yield to the Exchequer from increasing the minimum wage as outlined. The complexities of estimating the increased yield from income taxation would require, among other information, details of (i) the number of hours worked by the relevant individuals, (ii) whether they are singly or jointly assessed, and (iii) how tax credits are assigned between spouses. 

  Furthermore, increases in the minimum wage would be an additional cost for employers and thus would presumably have a negative effect on profits, leading to a reduction in Schedule D Income Tax and Corporation Tax receipts. In cases where employers could not afford the new minimum wage rates, it is possible that job losses could be experienced further reducing the potential yield from such a measure.

  Notwithstanding the above however, for illustrative purposes, estimated examples of the increases in Income Tax / USC that could arise for individuals, as a result of the increases specified by the Deputy, are set out in the table below. For the purposes of the illustration, it is assumed that the taxpayer is single, working 39 hours per week, and taxed at the standard rate of tax. Rounding may affect totals.

Minimum WageAdditional Income Tax per annumAdditional USC per annumTotal
€/ph
9.65604197800
10.651,0682541,322
11.451,7936532,446

Debt Conference

 51. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his plans to invite the new Greek Finance Minister, Mr Yanis Varoufakis, to Dublin to discuss a eurozone debt conference and a possible write-down of Greek debt, especially in view of the huge per capita levels of debt in Ireland and Greece.  [6311/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have no plans to discuss a euro area debt conference with the new Greek Finance Minister in Dublin.

   My view is that when countries encounter difficulties, a process of negotiation is always better than one of conflict.

  Specifically in the case of euro area Member States, all programme negotiations have been conducted within the Eurogroup and Ecofin, with IMF involvement as appropriate.  My view is that these are the appropriate fora for resolving outstanding issues involving euro area programme countries. 

  Indeed, it was within the Eurogroup that I, acting on behalf of the Government, secured many of the concessions that have significantly reduced the burden of public debt on the Irish people.

  In this regard, I look forward to meeting the new Greek Finance Minister, Mr. Yanis Varoufakis, at the next Eurogroup meeting on 11th February.

National Debt

 52. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide, in tabular form, details of the interest incurred on the gross national debt for each year from 2010 to 2014 under the headings State savings schemes, benchmark bonds, amortising bonds, floating rate bonds, European Financial Stability Facility loans, European Financial Stabilisation Mechanisation loans, European Union bilateral loans, International Monetary Fund loans, short-term debt and other interest paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6337/15]

 53. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide, in tabular form, a breakdown of the interest received from cash and other financial assets that are offset against the gross national debt, to arrive at the national debt figure for each year from 2010 to 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6338/15]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 52 and 53 together.

  The National Treasury Management Agency has provided the following figures which for 2014 are provisional, unaudited figures at this point.

   The figures presented in the table represent National Debt cash interest only.

  The figures in the table reflect the impact of hedging transactions.

  Table: National Debt Interest 2010-2014

€ million
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
Treasury Bonds3,1754,1064,0754,4464,128
Floating Rate Bonds000638755
Amortising Bonds0004483
Total Bonds3,1754,1064,0755,1294,966
State Savings Schemes199209284350394
EFSF067117373405
EFSM0112413665661
Bilaterals04356675
IMF 0258038001,025
Total EU/IMF Programme 02071,3691,9052,166
Short-term Debt197216392515
Other 2342424049
Exchequer Account & other operational balances-83-94-55-13-10
Deposits including collateralised deposits & others-9-61-2-52-45
HFA Guaranteed Notes/Non-Irish Treasury-Bills-11-77-72-60-69
Total Interest Receivable-103-232-129-125-124
Total National Debt Interest3,4924,5485,6797,3247,466


  Rounding may affect totals


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