Answered on June 27, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his attention has been drawn to the massive increases in commercial rates due to be levied on businesses in County Waterford on foot of a statutory revaluation of commercial rates in Waterford city and county; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Reply from Minister Brendan Howlin: As the Deputy will be aware, the national revaluation programme aims to provide up-to-date valuations for individual properties across all economic sectors that are subject to local authority rates. The revaluation process is the mechanism whereby economic changes that take place in the property market are reflected in the valuation lists for rates purposes and in individual ratepayers’ rates liabilities. The national revaluation programme is a priority for Government and is a feature of the Action Plan for Jobs 2012. The programme is particularly important given the significant changes that have occurred in rental values following the economic downturn of recent years. The purpose of a revaluation is to distribute commercial rates liabilities more equitably among ratepayers based on up-to-date values. Following revaluation, there will be a much closer relationship between rental value and commercial rates liability. Even though property values have fallen generally, given that the purpose is to redistribute the overall rates liability, some ratepayers will obtain a reduction while others will experience an increase from the process of redistribution but, overall, revaluation results in a fairer distribution of the rates burden.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Taoiseach the percentage of the overall workforce that is employed in small and medium enterprises.
Reply from Minister of State, Paul Kehoe: The breakdown requested by the Deputy is included in Table 1 (right). The year 2010 is the latest reference year for which final data is available. Data from 2006 – 2010 is included for comparison purposes.
The source of the estimates is the Business Demography series as published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are defined as follows:
1. Small Enterprises: less than 50 persons engaged.
2. Medium Enterprises: between 50 and 249 persons engaged.
3. Large Enterprises: greater than 250 persons engaged.
The enterprise figures quoted relate to the private business economy, which includes Industry, Construction and Services in NACE Rev 2 sectors B – N (excluding 64.20 “Activities of holding companies”). Enterprises in the Public Sector, Health, Education and Agriculture are not covered.
The following should be noted when analysing the figures provided above. The figures provided are on a “person engaged in employment” basis and not on an employee basis. The definitions used are:
1. Persons engaged, includes employees, proprietors and family members.
2. Employees are persons who are paid a fixed wage or salary. Persons at work or temporarily absent because of illness, holidays, strike etc, are included. Persons working on a labour-only subcontract basis are excluded.
3. Proprietors and family members; included here are those proprietors (partners etc) and members of their families who work regularly in the firm and are not paid a definite wage or salary.
The Business Demography Press Release of 22 June 2012 is available HERE.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide trade figures between Ireland and China for each of the past five years.
Reply from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: The Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Ireland compiles external trade figures for Ireland, which are available at www.cso.ie. The trade figures outlined below for China include total merchandise trade and total trade in services between Ireland and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, for the period January 2008 to December 2012.
In 2008, total bilateral trade between Ireland and China was €8,907 million (m). Total bilateral merchandise trade was valued at €6,600m; with exports worth €2,325m and imports worth €4,275m. Total bilateral trade in services was valued at €2,307m; exports were worth €1,625m and imports worth €682m.
Total bilateral trade in 2009 was valued at €7,144m; with total bilateral merchandise trade valued at €5,209m. Of this figure, €2,330m were exports and €2,879m were imports. Bilateral trade in services totalled €1,935 m; exports at €1,648m and imports at €317m.
Total bilateral trade with China totalled €7,603m in 2010. Total bilateral merchandise trade valued €5,249m; with exports at €2,494m and imports at €2,755m. Total bilateral trade in services were valued at €2,354m with exports worth €1,943m and imports worth €411m.
In 2011, total bilateral trade with China was valued at €7,824m. Total bilateral merchandise trade was worth €5,155m with exports worth €2,453m and imports worth €2,702m. Total bilateral trade in services was worth €2,669m; exports and imports were valued at €2,471m and €325m respectively.
In 2012, total bilateral merchandise trade between Ireland and China was valued at €5,027m; exports €2,167 and imports €2,860. Figures for trade in services for this period will become available from the CSO in September of this year.
From a broader perspective, in 2012, total bilateral trade (imports to and exports from Ireland) increased by 4.7% to €318.5 billion. Total exports increased by over 5% in 2011 in nominal terms and by over 5.5% in 2012. Exports are almost evenly divided between goods and services, with almost all of our export growth in 2012 accounted for by services exports, which grew by 11%. This overall trend is evident in trade with China where our merchandise exports decreased in 2012; in large part due to the ‘patent cliff’ in respect of pharmaceuticals while our exports of services increased by 52% over the period 2008-2011.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the level of lending to small and medium enterprises by State controlled banks over the past three years.
Reply from Minister Michael Noonan: As the Deputy is aware, the Government has imposed SME lending targets on the two domestic pillar banks for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Each bank was required to sanction lending of at least €3 billion in 2011, €3.5 billion in 2012 and €4 billion in 2013 for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs. Both banks have reported that they achieved their 2011 and 2012 targets.
The pillar banks are required to submit their lending plans to the Department and the Credit Review Office (CRO) at the beginning of each year, outlining how they intend to achieve their lending targets. The banks have submitted their lending plans for 2013 to my Department. My Department, in conjunction with the CRO, has analysed the plans and has met with the banks to discuss them. At the end of the first quarter 2013, both banks are on schedule to meet their targets. The Credit Reviewer has stated in his last report that over €8bn was sanctioned by the banks in 2012, of which approximately €2.5bn (27%) is new lending drawn down.
Separately, the Central Bank of Ireland publishes data on lending to Small and Medium Enterprises by all credit institutions resident in the Republic of Ireland, and commenced compiling these data in March 2010. These figures show that total gross new lending drawdowns by non-financial SMEs between March 2010 and December 2012 amounted to €8.7 billion. (Gross new lending drawdowns refer to funds accessed by SME customers during the period which were not included in the previous period’s stock of credit advanced. This excludes the value of renegotiations/restructures that takes place during the period. It is also not equivalent to sanctioning activity, nor does it cover contingent liabilities, such as letters of credit or similar guarantees. Non-financial SME credit excludes lending to certain financial vehicle corporations in the financial intermediation sector, as their balance sheet size brings them into the SME category.) This is available HERE.
The Central Bank of Ireland does not publish these data separately for state controlled banks. Data for March 2013 are due to be published before the end of June.
Answered on May 28, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to his Department’s monitoring of the South-East Employment Action Plan, the number of ideas have been funded in Waterford since its launch in January 2012; the amount of funding for Waterford ideas that have been awarded to-date.
Reply from Minister Richard Bruton: The South East Employment Action Plan has a number of recommendations which the relevant agencies and stakeholders are charged with implementing. The following are examples of agency funding provided to individuals or companies in Waterford and in the South East since January 2012 to develop new business ideas.
Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme is a rapid incubation programme designed to provide hands-on support and management development for entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business.
Twenty promoters were accepted on to the 2012 programmes run in Waterford IT and Carlow IT. All were approved a €15,000 scholarship from Enterprise Ireland to develop business ideas which can be spun out as knowledge based companies to provide jobs and export sales. Graduates are expected to go on to set up new businesses in the South East following the programme.
Enterprise Ireland launched a pilot Competitive Feasibility Fund for new start-ups in the South East in January 2012. Over 40 applications were received with 14 high quality projects being approved for funding. The total fund was approximately €200,000. To date, one of the projects has been approved High Potential Start Up funding. Enterprise Ireland continues to work with innovative start-up companies at all stages of development and growth within the region.
Since 2007, Enterprise Ireland has approved a total of 707 Innovation Vouchers to companies in the South East with 287 approved to Waterford based companies (as of March 2013). Waterford has the fourth highest number of approved vouchers since 2007.
In addition to the above, the Waterford County and the Waterford City Enterprise Boards have both continued to use the funding available under the European Globalisation Fund and from my Department to provide supports for micro-enterprises within the County. From the 1st January 2012 to date, the two CEBs have funded 51 projects in the amount of €865,270 from the funding allocated by my Department, supporting the creation of 98 jobs, and funded a further 6 other projects in the amount of €110,462 with the financial support provided by the European Globalisation Fund.
Work is on-going on the implementation of the South-East Employment Action Plan recommendations, with agencies and stakeholders working together to maximise benefits for the region. The South East Forum, established to oversee the implementation of the Action Plan, and which I met most recently in March this year, will continue to examine ways that would lead to job creation and investment opportunities in the South East.
Answered on May 28, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding his Department’s deliberations on the Living City Initiative in terms of maximising its uptake in Waterford and Limerick, and securing the necessary EU approvals.
Reply from Minister Michael Noonan: Finance Act 2013 includes a section on the Living City Initiative which introduces a scheme of tax incentives focusing on the regeneration of the historic centres of some of our main cities. The scheme which will be introduced by Ministerial order, will apply in the first instance on a pilot basis only to specified regeneration areas in Waterford and Limerick.
I indicated in my budget speech in December last year that I would examine proposals for a targeted incentive for already identified regeneration areas. The tax relief that will apply under this scheme will operate for five years from the date of commencement.
However, it is my intention that before it begins, the scheme will be subject to an ex ante cost benefit analysis and, subject to a positive outcome from the analysis, I will seek EU approval under State Aid rules for this initiative to be commenced for Limerick and Waterford cities.
Now that Finance Act 2013 is law, my department has been working on a request for tender document and I expect the tendering process for the cost benefit analysis project to begin shortly.
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of non-residential properties the National Asset Management Agency has control over in Waterford City and county following the liquidation of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
Reply from Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: NAMA advises that detail on the breakdown, by county, of the value of property securing NAMA’s loans is provided in its Annual Reports and Financial Statements for 2011, which is available on the NAMA website, www.nama.ie.
Properties under the control of receivers or other insolvency professionals appointed by NAMA are listed on its website at http://www.nama.ie/about-our-work/properties-enforced/. The site allows for searches by both property type and country/area. In each instance, information about the firm dealing with the insolvency and its contact details are provided. Potential purchasers are encouraged to contact the receivers to obtain additional information on specific properties and to submit expressions of their interest to purchase.
In the case of property under the control of debtors, NAMA is precluded, under Section 202 of the NAMA Act 2009, from disclosing confidential information. Confidential information is specifically defined to include information relating to debtors.
Furthermore, Section 99 of the Act provides that, on acquisition of a loan, NAMA takes over the obligations of the participating institution under the loan, one of which is the contractual duty of confidentiality which the debtor enjoyed while still a customer of the participating institution. Information about individual debtors or guarantors is also protected against disclosure by the Data Protection Acts with which NAMA must comply as a data controller.
However, in cases where NAMA receives enquiries from potential purchasers about specific properties under the control of debtors, it can facilitate contact with a view to enabling sales transactions to take place.
For the Deputy’s information, as part of the Government’s decision on 7th February to appoint Special Liquidators (SL) to IBRC, it was decided that NAMA would acquire those loans which have not been sold after the SL have completed their current valuation and sales process.
The SL is currently in the valuation stage of this process. NAMA has therefore not yet acquired any loans from the SL, nor has it any sight of those loans, and all such loans remain under the management of the SL until such time as the sales process has been completed.
::: Minister Hogan: harmonisation plans
Tuesday, 26 March, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline the process involved in resetting the different commercial rate levels once town councils are abolished and local authorities are amalgamated.
Reply from Minister Phil Hogan: The Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, indicates that in the context of reorganisation of local governance structures, the proposed new municipal districts will provide an opportunity to achieve a more coherent approach to rates and charges on a county-wide basis, having regard to funding requirements and the need to support employment and business competitiveness.
The Action Programme proposes rates harmonisation to cater for differences between Annual Rates on Valuation (ARVs) of towns and counties. My approach to rates harmonisation will seek to ensure, on the one hand, that harmonisation does not lead to significant net loss of revenue in individual counties with consequential implications for services, and on the other hand, that increases in rates do not impact negatively on businesses and employment. Definitive details, arrangements and procedures in relation to the funding of district level functions, and financial relations between district and county levels, will be developed in the context of the new local government funding arrangements generally, implementation of the new sub-county system and preparation of the legislation in relation to the reform programme.
Tuesday, 22 January 2012
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will maintain the commercial rate levels in town councils to be abolished where the rate levels are lower in those town council areas than the commercial rate levels in contiguous local authority areas where the commercial rates are at higher levels, and where both local authority areas are to be amalgamated.
Deputy Deasy also asked the Minister if he has detailed the commercial rate levels in all town councils compared with contiguous local authority rate levels in those constituencies to be amalgamated and if he will publish those figures.
>> Click here for written replies received from Deputy Phil Hogan (above).
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.