16. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the additional expenditure that is being undertaken the end of 2017 and in 2018 to ensure that all measures in budget 2018 are fully equality and gender proofed; the timeframe and targets needed to ensure that budget 2019 is also fully gender and equality proofed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47226/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The approach that is being taken to develop a process of budget and policy proofing, as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights in line with the Programme for Partnership Government commitment, has been set out in a policy paper published by my Department on Budget day. This paper, entitled “Equality Budgeting – Proposed Next Steps in Ireland”, looks at the international exp...

270. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the apportion out cost to the Exchequer of budget 2018 changes to the standard rate threshold and reduction in the USC rate between income tax cases below €70,000 and above €70,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47107/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that the table sets out the estimated cost to the Exchequer of the Budget 2018 changes, on a full year basis, in the manner outlined by the Deputy.
 Gross Income of Tax Unit Income Tax€m USC€m <€70,000 -75 -127 >€70,000 -77 -79 Total -152 -206 


These estimates are based on tax units. As the Deputy will be aware, jointly assessed couples are considered a single tax unit. Therefore the income of a tax ...

84. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the ESRI analysis of budget 2018 by a person (details supplied) that all households have lost income due to the lack of indexation of budget changes in both tax and welfare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44787/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 85 together.
I take it that the Deputy is referring to an article by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) assessing the distributional impact of Budget 2018 which was published in the Irish Times on Thursday, 12th October 2017. This analysis of the Budget is undertaken and published every year by the ESRI. The article this year was headlined “Budget 2018 leads to small losses in income at all leve...

85. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his plans for reforms to improve household incomes to ensure indexation of budget changes in taxation changes in future budgets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44788/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 85 together.
I take it that the Deputy is referring to an article by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) assessing the distributional impact of Budget 2018 which was published in the Irish Times on Thursday, 12th October 2017. This analysis of the Budget is undertaken and published every year by the ESRI. The article this year was headlined “Budget 2018 leads to small losses in income at all leve...

87. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the advice he received from the tax strategy group in advance of budget 2018; if he will publish the advice he received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44790/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, the Tax Strategy Group (TSG) is in place since the early 1990s and is chaired by the Department of Finance with membership comprising senior officials and political advisers from a number of Civil Service Departments and Offices.
Papers on various options for tax policy changes are prepared annually by Department of Finance officials. The TSG is not a decision making body and the papers produced by the Department are sim...

113. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the full estimated year cost in 2019 of spending measures announced in budget 2018; the impact on the fiscal space available for budget 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44807/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Table 7 on page 38 of Expenditure Report 2018 provides an estimate of €192 million in respect of the full-year impact of Budget 2018 current expenditure measures in the areas of Social Protection, Education and Justice. This has been reproduced in the following table.
  # Additional Cost in 2019 (€millions) Social Protection 110 Education 42 Justice 40 Total 192 

As these estimates relate to measures being i...

285. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding that has been allocated in budget 2018 for mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43477/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Budget 2018 made allowance for an additional €59 million for Mental Health Services for 2018. €35 million is made up of the €20 million continuing cost in 2018 of developments initiated in 2017, combined with a further €15 million for further new developments. €24 million will fund pay-related costs. In addition, the Minister for Health has committed to a further €55 million to be made available for mental health services in 201...

36. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the regulatory impact assessment he has carried out prior to tax changes he plans announcing in budget 2018. (Question 42724/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will be aware that Budget tax changes are generally implemented by means of the Finance Bill. The Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Guidelines advise that it is not compulsory to apply RIA to the Finance Bill. Indeed the Guidelines go on to note that the publication of an RIA may not be appropriate in the case of tax law / regulations or the imposition of charges because of their sensitivity and the need to guard against possible evasion...

485. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if budget 2018 will offer low cost loans for farmers to meet their ongoing capital requirements and on-farm investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43015/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): One of my priorities has been to address the impact of the volatility in the sterling exchange rate and lower commodity prices in some agriculture sectors. I see lower cost finance as an effective way of doing this and we developed the “Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme” with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).
The Scheme made €150 million available to farmers at interest rates of 2.95%. Distributed a...

486. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if budget 2018 will meet the programme for Government commitment to increase ANC funding by €25 million; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43017/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme is a very important source of financial support for farmers across the country, paying over €200 million each year to over 95,000 farmers.  The Programme for a Partnership Government provides for a commitment of a €25 million increase in funding for the Scheme in 2018.  This now falls for consideration in the context of discussions on Budget 2018.
There are a number of options in re...

123. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Finance his plans to reduce the rate of inheritance tax in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41934/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) is the overall title for both Gift and Inheritance Tax. The tax is charged on the amount gifted to, or inherited by, the beneficiary of the gift or inheritance.
CAT is charged at 33% to the beneficiary on amounts received by gift or inheritance, beyond certain lifetime tax-free amounts determined by the relationship between the beneficiary and the person making the gift or the inheritance. The rate is the same regard...

132. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the projected additional fiscal space for budget 2018 from savings on the live register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41580/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Unemployment has reduced from over 15% in early 2012 to 6.3% in August 2017. On the basis of the improving labour market, there have been reductions in expenditure on providing income supports for people who are unemployed. 
In arriving at estimates of fiscal space, an assumption is made about the level of Live Register related savings each year. The Expenditure Report 2017 set out costs of €0.3 billion for 2018 in relation ...

133. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the projected savings he has identified for budget 2018 from hidden fiscal space; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41581/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Mid-Year Expenditure Report published last July stated that Gross Current Expenditure would reach an estimated €54.8 billion in 2018. I have consistently highlighted the requirement to focus on the totality of this expenditure in assessing how best to deliver quality public services rather than the planned annual increment reflected in estimates of fiscal space. 
In this context in my speech accompanying the publication o...

107. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will give consideration to issues identified as a priority for budget 2018 by a trade union (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40990/17 asked on 27 Sep 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Decisions in relation to Budget 2018 will be taken as part of the estimates process and will be announced on Budget day.
The 2017/18 school year brings a significant increase of over 5,000 in teacher numbers in our schools compared to the 2015/16 school year. 
While I am aware of the issues outlined, there are needs across the system which have to be balanced in the decisions made in each Budget.
 ...

56. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of his officials that are gender, equality and carbon proofing budget 2018; the extent to which these examinations with relevant costings are taken into account before the finalisation of the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40176/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Responsibility for proofing policy proposals as referenced in the Deputy’s questions is, in the first instance, a matter for the relevant individual spending Departments, as appropriate, in developing proposals for submission to my Department in connection with the Estimates process.  In advance of the finalisation of the Estimates for 2018, officials in my Department are currently assessing the expenditure and budgetary implic...

606. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department will increase the funding for the local transport sector in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39223/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 606 and 608 together.
As part of the 2018 estimates process, my Department is currently finalising a submission to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform outlining priorities for funding in 2018.  When my Department’s allocation is confirmed, decisions will be made regarding appropriate level of funding for all programmes under my areas of responsibility.
As you are aware my Department is resp...

608. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason Dublin is getting more funding for transport infrastructure than other regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39225/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 606 and 608 together.
As part of the 2018 estimates process, my Department is currently finalising a submission to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform outlining priorities for funding in 2018.  When my Department’s allocation is confirmed, decisions will be made regarding appropriate level of funding for all programmes under my areas of responsibility.
As you are aware my Department is resp...

110. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Finance if business owners will be able to claim VAT back on car petrol usage in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37056/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, 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.
 ...

1924. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expenditure savings that are earmarked for her Department for 2018 that are not accounted for in the mid-year expenditure report or are not included in the fiscal space calculations for 2018. (Question 38901/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Mid-Year Expenditure Report, published in July, sets out the Pre-Budget Ceiling for the Department of Social Protection for 2018. The amount included in this ceiling reflects certain demographic pressures primarily relating to the state pension and anticipated savings from reductions in expenditure on the Live Register. As part of the Budget Estimates process, the forecast of changes in Live Register-related expen...

245. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will prioritise increasing the budget to the Department of Social Protection in budget 2018, in view of the fact that many payments are still behind the rate they were in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31474/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Decisions on the expenditure allocation to the Department of Social Protection will be taken in the context of the 2018 Estimates process.
 ...

47. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered the impact that potential income tax cuts will have on the ability to invest in vital public services in budget 2018; his views on the further erosion of the tax base; the way in which he plans to offset the potential exchequer losses from a proposed tax cut; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31480/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Programme for Partnership Government recognises the need to invest in public services and capital infrastructure to meet increasing demographic demands; to provide targeted expenditure increases for improvements focusing upon health, housing, education, disability, child care and development. It also recognises that capital investment in key physical and social infrastructure can support growth and continued job creation.  
The programme theref...

59. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his Department’s objective of a balanced budget in structural terms in 2018; his Department’s current appraisal of the strength of tax receipts in achieving that balance; if his Department is holding discussions with the EU Commission regarding the application of the fiscal rules and the maximising of the fiscal space available for budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31351/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): At the outset, I want to highlight that the Government is responsible for policy and, as such, it is the Government’s objective (and not that of my Department) to balance the budget in structural terms in 2018.
My Department, however, is responsible for the technical analysis, including the production of economic and fiscal forecasts.  On the basis of my Department’s latest forecasts, which were published in the April 2017 Stability Programme Update...

83. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance his plans to prioritise investment in public services over tax cuts as requested by a group (details supplied) in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31736/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware this Government must ensure that budgetary policy is in compliance with the fiscal rules - formally known as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) – which have direct application through a number of EU regulations as well as domestically via the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2012. These rules are designed to promote budgetary discipline and underpin sustainable economic growth. While Ireland’s economy is growing and debt is on a d...

28. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will rule out further tax cuts in budget 2018 in view of recent disappointing Exchequer returns and to ensure all fiscal space is directed towards maintaining and improving public services and investment in capital infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23359/17 asked on 18 May 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Programme for Partnership Government recognises the need to invest in public services and capital infrastructure, to meet increasing demographic demands, provide targeted expenditure increase for improvements focusing upon health, housing, education, disability, child care and development, and that capital investment in key physical and social infrastructure can support growth and continued job creation. 
Hence the Programme for Partnership Gover...

64. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the current estimate of the fiscal space available in budget 2018 net of the carry forward effects from budget 2017 and all known demographic pressures. (Question 9993/17 asked on 28 Feb 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The current estimate of the net fiscal space available for 2018 is €1.2 billion. This figure was set out in the documentation that accompanied Budget 2017 last October.  
This estimate is consistent with compliance with Ireland’s obligations under the fiscal rules, namely the expenditure benchmark pillar of the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact.  According to this metric, fiscal space is calculated as the potential growth rate of the e...