SUMMARY OF 2004 BUDGET MEASURES

(See Also)

  • - Annex A (Details of Tax Changes)

  • - Annex B (Income TaxMeasures )

  • - Annex C (Social Welfare/Health Rate Increases)

  • - Annex D (Multi Annual Capital Investment Framework 2004-2008)

 

SUMMARY OF 2004 BUDGET MEASURES

CONTENTS

 

PART I

TAXATION MEASURES

Income Tax Changes

Other Income Tax

Certain Capital Allowances and Tax Incentive Schemes

Corporation Tax

Stamp Duty

Farmer Taxation

Excises

VAT

PRSI Changes

 

 

PART II

EXPENDITURE MEASURES

Social Welfare

Health and Children

Introduction of Multi-Annual Capital Envelopes

 

 

 

PART III

PUBLIC SERVICE PENSION REFORM

Measures Affecting New Entrants to the Public Service

Measures Not Being Introduced

Pension Measures in Respect of Serving Staff and/or Pensioners

 

 

PART IV

DECENTRALISATION

Table 1 - New Departmental Headquarters

Table 2 - County Breakdown

Table 3 - Details of Programme by Department

General Notes

 

 

PART I

TAXATION MEASURES

 

INCOME TAX CHANGES

Personal Tax Changes

The personal tax changes, including associated costs, which will take effect from 1 January 2004, are as follows:

Changes to Income Tax

Cost in 2004

€m

Full Year Cost

€m

Employee Credit increased by €240 to €1,040

220

282

Age Exemption Limits (single/married)increased from €15,000/€30,000 to €15,500/€31,000

3

5

Total

223

287

 

OTHER INCOME TAX

Reduction in Specified Rate for Preferential Home Loans

An employee in receipt of a preferential home loan is charged income tax on the difference between the interest actually paid and the amount which would have been payable at the “specified” rate of interest for home loans. To reflect reductions in mortgage interest rates, the specified rate in respect of home loans is being reduced from 4.5% to 3.5%. This change will take effect from 1 January 2004.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €2.4 million in 2004 and €3 million in a full year.

 

Trade Unions

The standard-rated tax allowance in respect of subscriptions paid by members of trade unions is to be increased from €130 to €200 per annum. This is equivalent to a tax credit of €40 per annum.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €2.3 million in 2004 and €3 million in a full year.

 

Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge

Income received under Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge by approved households in Gaeltacht areas is to be exempted from income tax with effect from 1 January 2004. This replaces an existing administrative arrangement, in relation to calculating the income concerned, operated by the Revenue Commissioners.

 

Tax Relief for Dental Insurance

With effect from 1 January 2004 tax relief at the standard rate will be available on premiums paid for policies for dental insurance for non-routine dental treatment offered by insurers who provide dental insurance only. Currently, this is available only as part of a medical insurance premium.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €1 million in 2004 and €3 million in a full year.

 

CERTAIN CAPITAL ALLOWANCES AND TAX INCENTIVE SCHEMES

The table below sets out the revised termination dates for a range of capital allowances and incentive schemes in the film, property and tourism sectors.

Scheme

Change

Existing Termination Date

New Termination Date

Film Relief

Increase in overall section 481 cap per film from €10.48m to €15m from 1 January 2005.

31 December 2004

31 December 2008

Existing Conditions

Urban Renewal Scheme

15% of total project costs must have been incurred by 30 June 2003. Application for certification of this expenditure must have been submitted to the local authority by 31 July 2003. Local authority must have issued certification by 30 September 2003.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Multi-storey Car Parks Scheme

15% of total project costs to be incurred by 30 September 2003. Local authority must issue the certification by 31 December 2003.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Student Accommodation Scheme

Full planning application must have been received in planning authority by 30 September 2003.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Buildings used for Third Level Purposes

Ministerial Certificate of Approval must be issued by 31 December 2004.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Hotels and Holiday Camps Capital Allowances

Full planning application must have been received in planning authority by 31 May 2003.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Holiday Cottages Capital Allowances

Full planning application must have been received in planning authority by 31 May 2003.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Scheme

New Conditions

Existing Termination Date

New Termination Date

Rural Renewal Scheme

Full planning application must be received in planning authority by 31 December 2004.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Park and Ride Scheme

Full planning application must be received in planning authority by 31 December 2004.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Town Renewal Scheme

Full planning application must be received in planning authority by 31 December 2004.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Living Over the Shop Scheme

Full planning application must be received in planning authority by 31 December 2004.

31 December 2004

31 July 2006

Investment in Films

The current provisions in relation to the tax relief for investment in films are due to terminate on 31 December 2004. The scheme will be renewed for another 4 years to 31 December 2008 and the cap on the maximum amount of funding eligible for tax relief in respect of any one film is being raised, from 1 January 2005, from the current level of €10.48million to €15million. These changes are subject to approval from the European Commission under State aid rules. The need for new legislative provisions to curb abuses of this relief will be examined in the context of the 2004 Finance Bill.

The cost of extending the existing measure is already taken into account in the tax base and is estimated to be about €25 million per annum and the cost of the change in the cap is estimated to be €3million in a full year.

 

Property Schemes and Capital Allowances

The extension to the qualifying period for the Urban, Town and Rural Renewal Schemes in respect of expenditure on commercial and industrial projects will be subject to approval by the European Commission under State aid rules. No such approval is required in relation to the residential elements of these schemes or in relation to the other schemes listed in the above table.

 

Business Expansion Scheme (BES)

The Business Expansion Scheme is being renewed from 1 January 2004 for a three year period to 31 December 2006. The BES company limit is being increased from its current level of €750,000 to €1million.

To provide sufficient time for BES designated funds to raise finance from investors, it is intended to provide that, where any amount raised by a Designated Fund up to 31 January 2004 is invested in qualifying companies before 31 December 2004, the individual investors who subscribed to the funds will have the option of claiming tax relief on their investment for either the 2003 or 2004 tax years. Similarly, in the case of direct investment by investors in qualifying BES companies, where eligible shares are issued before 31 January 2004, the investor will have the option of claiming tax relief on their investment for either 2003 or 2004.

The cost of extending this measure is already taken into account in the tax base and is estimated to be €20.7 million per annum. The cost of increasing the company limit is estimated to be €2.5 million in 2004 and €3.5 million in a full year.

 

Seed Capital Scheme (SCS)

The Seed Capital Scheme is being renewed from 1 January 2004 for a three year period to 31 December 2006. The SCS permits employees who leave employment to invest in certain new businesses and take up a job in that business to claim a refund of tax for up to the previous six years. An unemployed person or a person who was made redundant may also claim the relief. The level of an individual's tax refund depends on the level of the investment and the amount of tax the individual has paid in previous years.

The new BES company limit of €1million will also apply to the SCS.

The cost of extending this measure is already taken into account in the tax base and is estimated to be €1.4 million per annum. The cost of increasing the company limit for the SCS is estimated to be €0.14 million in 2004 and €0.2 million in a full year.

 

Corporate Tax Relief for Investment in Renewable Energy Generation

The qualifying period for the scheme of tax relief for corporate investment in certain renewable energy projects is being extended from 31 December 2004 to 31 December 2006. The extension is subject to clearance by the European Commission from a State aid perspective, and will come into operation by way of a Commencement Order to be made by the Minister for Finance following such clearance.

The cost of extending this measure is already taken into account in the tax base and is estimated to be €1 million in a full year.

 

CORPORATION TAX

Tax Credit for Research and Development Expenditure

A 20% tax credit will be introduced for qualifying incremental expenditure on research and development (R&D). The tax credit will not be available in any year if the total of R&D expenditure in that year is less than €50,000.

The tax credit will be available to companies subject to Irish corporation tax in respect of in-house qualifying R&D undertaken within the European Economic Area (EEA). It will apply to expenditure that is deductible for Irish tax purposes. In the case of Irish resident companies the relief will only be available if such expenditure is not tax deductible in any other territory.

The tax credit will be allowed against a company's corporation tax liability for the current year with the unused balance available to carry forward against the corporation tax liability of the company until it is used up.

The new relief is subject to clearance by the European Commission from a State aid perspective, and will come into operation by way of a Commencement Order to be made by the Minister for Finance following such clearance. The scheme of relief will continue until 31 December 2008. Full details of the new relief will be set out in the Finance Bill 2004.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €8 million in 2004 increasing to €90 million per annum after five years.

Tax Treatment of a Substantial Shareholding in a Subsidiary Company

The Finance Bill 2004 will contain measures to encourage multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters and holding companies in Ireland. This will involve an exemption from CGT for Irish resident companies on the disposal of a substantial shareholding in their trading subsidiaries. The Bill will also include related amendments to the provisions on double taxation relief in the case of dividends paid to parent companies. These measures will add to Ireland's attraction as a location for headquarter companies. Many other EU Member States have tax regimes which attract such operations.

Full details will be in the Finance Bill. The provisions will apply to relevant disposals of subsidiaries in the EU or in countries with which Ireland has a tax treaty on or after the date of publication of the Bill.

The estimated cost of these measures is €10 million in a full year.

 

STAMP DUTY

Stamp Duty Exemption on Intellectual Property

The Finance Bill 2004 will provide a stamp duty exemption for transfers of intellectual property such as copyright, patents and trademarks. There will be consultations with relevant bodies about the scope of the provision before publication of the Finance Bill.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €0.25 million in 2004 and €0.3 million in a full year.

 

FARMER TAXATION

Farm Pollution Control

The special scheme of capital allowances for farm pollution control, which is due to terminate on 31 December 2003, will be continued for another 3 years to 31 December 2006.

The cost of extending this measure is already taken into account in the tax base and is estimated to be €4 million in a full year.

 

Leased Land Exemption

The exemption for income derived from certain leases of farmland is being increased from 1 January 2004 from €5,079 to €7,500 per annum for leases of between five and seven years and from €7,618 to €10,000 per annum for leases of seven or more years. The age limit of 55 for qualifying lessors is to be lowered to 40 with effect from 1 January 2004.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €8 million in 2004 and €13 million in a full year.

 

EXCISES

Tobacco Excise

The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 25 cent (including VAT) with a pro-rata increase on the other tobacco products, with effect from midnight on 3 December 2003.

This measure is estimated to yield €1.2 million in 2003 and €59.7 million in 2004.

 

Auto Diesel

The mineral oil tax on auto diesel is being increased by 5 cent per litre (including VAT) with effect from midnight on 3 December 2003.

This measure is estimated to yield €5.5 million in 2003 and €94.8 million in 2004.

 

Petrol

The mineral oil tax on petrol is being increased by 5 cent per litre (including VAT) with effect from midnight on 3 December 2003.

This measure is estimated to yield €4.1 million in 2003 and €88.5 million in 2004.

 

VAT

Farmers' VAT Flat Rate Addition

The farmers' flat rate addition is being increased from 4.3 per cent to 4.4 per cent from 1 January 2004. This rate change will ensure that unregistered farmers continue to be compensated in full for the VAT they bear on their business inputs. There will be a corresponding increase to 4.4% for the sale of livestock by VAT registered farmers.

This will cost €3.15 million in 2004 and €3.78 million in a full year.

 

VAT Anti-Avoidance Measure

Normally, where a house and site are sold together, the VAT treatment is that both the house and the site are subject to VAT. Section 4(6)(a), VAT Act, 1972 provides that no tax is chargeable on the supply of property if the person making the supply was not entitled to input credit in respect of the acquisition or development of the property. An interpretation of this section, inter alia, has been used to attempt to exempt the sale of developed sites, where a site and new houses or apartments are being sold together. The law is being clarified to put beyond doubt that where a developed site is sold in such circumstances it is subject to VAT. This clarification is being implemented by way of a Financial Resolution on Budget night.

 

PRSI CHANGES

Employee

As from 1 January 2004, the PRSI contribution ceiling will increase from €40,420 to €42,160.

This increase underpins the 2004 Expenditure Estimates for Public Services.

 

PART II

EXPENDITURE MEASURES

 

Note for Information

The sums set out below should be read in conjunction with the amounts provided in the Abridged Estimates Volume published on 13 November 2003 .

 

SOCIAL WELFARE

(See also Annex C, where the changes in maximum weekly rates of payment from January 2004 and increases in Child Benefit from April 2004 are shown.)

The total cost of the Social Welfare improvements is €607.9 million in 2004 and €630 million in a full year.

 

Social Welfare Weekly Rates

Maximum weekly personal rates for all old age and related pensions will be increased by €10, with proportionate increases for pensioners on reduced rates, from the first week of January 2004.

There will be a special additional increase of €1.50 in the maximum weekly rate of Widow(er)'s (Contributory) Pension and Deserted Wife's Benefit for those aged 66 or over, bringing the total maximum increase to €11.50 per week, from January 2004.

Other maximum personal rates will increase by €10 per week, with proportionate increases for claimants on reduced rates, from the first week of January 2004.

Maximum Qualified Adult Allowances (QAAs) will be increased as follows:

  • €7.70 per week for Old Age (Contributory) and Retirement Pensions where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over;
  • €6.70 per week for Old Age (Contributory) and Retirement Pensions where the qualified adult is aged under 66;
  • €6.60 per week for Old Age (Non-Contributory) Pension;
  • €16.10 per week for Invalidity Pension where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over and €7.10 per week where the qualified adult is aged under 66;
  • €6.60 per week for all other QAA payments.

Proportionate increases will be applied where persons are in receipt of reduced rate QAA payments.

There will also be an increase of €10 per week to €151.60 in the minimum rate of Maternity Benefit from January 2004.

The above increases will cost €518.37 million in 2004 and in a full year.

 

Child and Family Income Support

Child Benefit will be increased by €6 per month for each of the first and second children to €131.60 per month; and by €8 per month for each of the third and subsequent children to €165.30 per month, effective from April 2004.

These increases will cost €61.41 million in 2004 and €81.88 million in a full year.

Family Income Supplement income thresholds will be increased by €28 per week and the minimum payment will be increased by €7.00 per week to €20.00 per week, from January 2004.

This measure will cost €10.05 million in 2004 and in a full year.

Additional funding will be allocated to the School Meals Programme in 2004.

This measure will cost €1 million in 2004 and in a full year.

The duration of Adoptive Benefit will be increased from 14 weeks to 16 weeks to come into effect in 2004 following the implementation of the proposed Adoptive Leave legislation.

This measure will cost €0.04 million in 2004 and €0.08 million in a full year.

 

Pensioners/Widow(er)s

The Widowed Parent Grant will be increased by €200 to €2,700 with immediate effect.

The pension disregard for Rent Supplement will be increased by €3.00 to €26.00 per week from January 2004.

From April 2004, Widow/er's Non-Contributory Pension recipients aged 66 and over who take up residence in Northern Ireland will be entitled to continue to receive the payment for a maximum period of five years.

From May 2004, the rate of payment of Death Benefit Pension to recipients aged 80 or over will be increased to a rate equivalent to the combined maximum rate of Widow/er's (Contributory) Pension aged 66 or over and the over 80 allowance.

The 6 weeks after death payment arrangements will be improved from June 2004 by extending their application to all schemes.

The Free Travel Companion Pass will be extended, from April 2004, to those recipients of Unemployability Supplement who are currently entitled to a standard Free Travel Pass.

The cost of these measures will be €0.73 million in 2004 and €0.85 million in a full year.

 

Carers

The €210(single)/€420 (couple) weekly income disregards for means assessment for the Carer's Allowance scheme will be increased to €250/€500 respectively, from April 2004.

The Respite Care Grant will be increased by €100 to €835 from June 2004.

The cost of these measures will be €8.65 million in 2004 and €10.71 million in a full year.

 

Employment and Unemployment Supports

Funding of the employment support Special Projects Fund will be increased by €0.4million to €2.5million in 2004.

Funding of the employment support Technical Training and Assistance Fund will be increased by €0.4million to €2.55million in 2004.

Access to the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme will be improved by reducing the minimum qualifying period on the Live Register from five years to three years from March 2004.

The assessment of Benefit and Privilege for Unemployment Assistance will be abolished for persons aged 27 and over from April 2004.

The minimum Unemployment Assistance payment where means are derived from parental income will be increased by €8.20 per week to €40 per week from April 2004, subject to an underlying entitlement to a reduced Unemployment Assistance payment.

The upper ceiling for tapered Qualified Adult Allowances will be increased from €203.16 to €210 per week from January 2004.

From January 2004, Family Income Supplement will be disregarded in the assessment of entitlement to Rent Supplement.

The cost of these measures will be €3.56 million in 2004 and €4.04 million in a full year.

 

Other Additional Funding

Additional funding will be made available to a variety of bodies, including the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), the Combat Poverty Agency, the Family Mediation Service and Comhairle.

Once-off funding will be allocated for the 10 th anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

This funding will cost €4.09 million in 2004 and €3.02 million in a full year.

 

HEALTH AND CHILDREN

Health Allowances

Increases in line with those for social welfare recipients are being implemented from January 2004.

This will cost €4.7 million in 2004 and in a full year, of which €3.1 million was provided in the 2004 Estimates for the Public Service.

 

Persons with Disabilities

An additional €25 million of current expenditure is being provided. This will be used to provide additional emergency residential placements, extra day services - especially for school leavers - and to enhance health support services for children.

The cost of these measures will be €25 million in 2004 and €25 million in a full year.

INTRODUCTION OF MULTI-ANNUAL CAPITAL ENVELOPES

The capital envelopes will be a rolling multi-annual allocation covering a five year period. They will comprise a mixture of Exchequer and Public Private Partnership/National Development Finance Agency capital allocations for public capital investment. The latter will involve design, build and operate projects which will be delivered by public private partnership and financed either by the Private Sector or by the National Development Finance Agency. The Exchequer will meet the cost of servicing the capital finance and maintenance in respect of these projects over the lifetime of each contract through unitary payments which will be provided for as current expenditure annually in the relevant Departmental Votes.

Projects which are delivered by public private partnership and which are financed by user charges will be additional to the capital envelopes.

An annual unallocated reserve will also be provided for in the envelope. This will be allocated each year by Government to priority investment.

As part of the capital envelopes system, Departments will be allowed to carryover from one year to another up to 10% of each year's unspent capital allocation by subhead.

The Table at Annex D summarises by Ministerial Group the allocations under the capital envelope for the period 2004 – 2008, equivalent to maintaining investment at 5% of GNP over the period 2005 – 2008 ‡ . Total capital investment in the envelope will amount to €33.6 billion. The funding breakdown in the table is:

 
€bn
Exchequer
28.9
PPP's*
2.4
Unallocated reserve of which:
Exchequer
1.1

PPP's*

1.2
 
33.6

Additional targets have been set outside of the envelopes of €150 million in 2004 and €300 million for each year up to 2008 for public private partnership projects to be funded by user charges.

‡ The allocation for 2004 is equivalent to 4.9% of GNP.

* This represents the capital cost of projects which are financed through Public Private Partnership / National Development Finance Agency.

 

Local Government Fund

A once off additional contribution of €30 million is being provided by the Exchequer to the Local Government Fund in 2004 to assist the management of Local Authority finances next year.

This will cost €30 million in 2004.

 

Funding for School Building Works

Additional funding will be provided for primary and post-primary school building works.

This will cost €30 million in 2004 and in a full year.

 

New Rural Social Scheme

The object of the new scheme is to provide improved rural services in a more efficient way and at the same time to ensure an income for small farmers with a working week compatible with farming. The type of activity carried out by participants will relate to the provision of services and development in the community.

Eligibility : Must have herd number and be in receipt (long term) of Farm Assist, Unemployment Assistance, Disability Allowance or on Unemployment Benefit after having been on an existing community employment scheme (or be a dependent spouse of such an eligible person on one of those schemes). Other than farming, participants will not be allowed to take up paid employment while on the scheme.

Participants will receive a payment which will provide a weekly amount in [addition to] what they currently receive from the Department of Social and Family Affairs and will be equivalent to what they would receive on similar schemes elsewhere. Participants will be entitled to one payment while on this scheme and accordingly will not be allowed to be in receipt of another social welfare payment at the same time. The hours of attendance will be 20 hours per week.

The Number of participants will be determined by the funding of €10 million that will be available, which it is estimated could provide up to 2,500 places. Places on the scheme will be on an annual basis and subject to periodic means test. As the participants will be farmers, where the numbers wishing to participate exceed the number of places available those longest on the scheme will have to leave to make way for the new participants – priority will thus be given to new entrants

The new scheme will be administered by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and he will announce further details in due course.

 

PART III

PUBLIC SERVICE PENSION REFORM

The Government has decided to implement the bulk of the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on Public Service Pensions. The recommendations have been the subject of a report by a joint management/union Working Group set up to advise on implementation of the Commission's recommendations, as well as having been considered by parallel Working Groups established in respect of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces.

 

MEASURES AFFECTING NEW ENTRANTS TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE

For new entrants to the public service, the following measures will be introduced with effect from 1 April 2004, except in those cases where, for legal or technical reasons, a later commencement date is required.

The minimum pension age will be increased to 65 for the generality of new entrants to the public service , including

- civil servants

- staff in education (including primary and second level teachers)

- staff in local government (including officers in the Fire Service)

- staff in the health services (including psychiatric staff employed under the Mental Treatment Act) and

- staff in non-commercial State Sponsored bodies.

The compulsory retirement age of 65 will be removed for new entrants , enabling staff to remain in work should they wish, subject to suitability and health requirements. Pension benefits for new entrants will accrue on a standard basis (i.e. one year's credit for one year's service up to a maximum of 40 years' service). For some categories (psychiatric nurses and others covered by the Mental Treatment Act and officers in the Fire Service), this means that the doubling of service after 20 years for pension purposes (effectively allowing a full pension to be obtained after 30 years' service rather than the standard 40 years) will not apply to people recruited on or after 1 April 2004.

The minimum pension age will be increased to 65 for members of the Oireachtas and Office Holders elected or appointed on or after 1 April 2004 . There will be no changes in the pension accrual rate for this group.

The minimum pension age will be increased to 55 for new entrant Gardaí and Prison Officers and in the case of Gardaí, the compulsory retirement age for new entrants will be increased to 60, subject to annual health and fitness certification after age 55. The current minimum pension age of 55 for Fire-fighters will be retained for new entrants. There will be no changes in the pension accrual rate for this group.

As recommended by the Commission, a new pension scheme will be designed for new entrants to the Defence Forces . This will include a minimum pension age of 50 and the accrual of maximum pension over 30 years.

It is estimated that the annual savings , which will arise from the introduction of these pension changes, will be of the order of €300 million in current terms in 30-40 years time , with some savings being realised earlier than that.

It is emphasised that these changes do not in any way affect existing staff or pensioners.

The public service unions will be fully informed as to the details of the implementation of the reforms in advance of their introduction for new entrants on 1 April 2004.

 

MEASURES NOT BEING INTRODUCED

The Government has decided not to accept the Commission's recommendations in relation to the introduction of an additional 1% pension contribution or the use of a new index for the purpose of determining pension increases. These measures would have applied to serving staff and/or pensioners, had they been accepted by the Government . This means that the existing method of determining pension increases remains in place, and that an additional 1% contribution will not be levied on employees.

 

PENSION MEASURES IN RESPECT OF SERVING STAFF AND/OR PENSIONERS

The Minister for Finance is proposing changes also to the pension terms and conditions of serving staff along the lines recommended by the Commission on Public Service Pensions. These include:-

  • Integration -
Amendment of the existing formula used for integrating public service and social welfare pensions so as to make better provision for current and future staff on lower pay levels. Such a change would also be of benefit to some existing pensioners. Integration applies to public servants in full PRSI class. Under integration occupational pensions are calculated on the basis of net pensionable remuneration - i.e. pensionable remuneration less an offset of twice the value of the Old Age Contributory Pension (OACP). Integration, with its flat-rate deduction, can provide a very low (or even zero) rate of occupational pension for public servants who retire on relatively low levels of pay. The new formula would have a higher cut-off of 3 1/3 times OACP. The estimated cost of this improvement across the public service in 2004 is €8m.
  • Scheme for Public Employees Additional Retirement Savings ( SPEARS )-

Introduction of a single Additional Voluntary Contribution type scheme for the public service.

The Minister for Finance will examine the feasibility of implementing the Commission's recommendation for the payment of survivor's pensions to non-spousal partners and also the possibility of providing for some form of optional early retirement with payment of actuarially reduced benefits, which would have a cost neutral effect, as recommended by the Commission.

PART IV

DECENTRALISATION - Table 1

 

New Departmental Headquarters

The headquarters of eight Departments and the OPW are being transferred out of Dublin, leaving seven Departments with headquarters in Dublin.

Department/Office New Headquarters
Agriculture & Food Portlaoise
Arts, Sport & Tourism Killarney

Communications, Marine & Natural Resources

Cavan

Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

Knock Airport
Defence Newbridge
Education & Science Mullingar

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

Wexford
Office of Public Works Trim

Social & Family Affairs

Drogheda

Note: Ministers with headquarters outside of Dublin will be provided with a centralised suite of offices, close to the Houses of the Oireachtas, for a small secretariat so they can conduct business while in Dublin and when the Dáil is in session.

 

DECENTRALISATION - Table 2

County Breakdown

County Town
Approx. Nos.
   
Carlow Carlow
350
   
Cavan Cavan
425
   
Clare Kilrush
50
  Shannon
400
   
Cork Clonakilty
150
  Kanturk
100
  Macroom
70
  Mallow
200
  Mitchelstown
200
  Youghal
200
   
Donegal Buncrana
120
  Donegal
230
  Gweedore [1]
30
   
Galway Ballinasloe
110
  Clifden
40
  Furbo
10
  Loughrea
50
   
Kerry Killarney
165
  Listowel
50
   
Kildare Athy
250
  Curragh
300
  Newbridge
200
   
Kilkenny Kilkenny
105
  Thomastown
110
   
Laois Portarlington
110
  Portlaoise
400
   
Limerick Limerick
130
  Newcastle West
50
   
Longford Longford
130
   
Leitrim Carrick-on-Shannon
265
   
Louth Drogheda
300
   
Mayo Claremorris
150
  Knock Airport
140
   
Meath Navan
100
  Trim
275
   
Monaghan Carrickmacross
85
  Monaghan
25
   
Offaly Birr
250
  Edenderry
75
  Tullamore
130
   
Roscommon Roscommon
230
   
Sligo Sligo
100
   
Tipperary Roscrea
80
  Thurles
200
  Tipperary
200
   
Waterford Dungarvan
300
  Waterford
200
   
Westmeath Athlone
145
  Mullingar
300
   
Wexford Enniscorthy
85
  New Ross
130
  Wexford
325
   
Wicklow Arklow
140
   
To be decided  
IT staff (Note 1)  
835
Health sector (Note 2)  
500
   
  Total
10,300

Note 1: The Government has decided not to assign the 835 IT jobs included in the programme to any particular location(s) at this stage. IT systems in Departments are now absolutely critical in terms of service delivery – most obviously in the case of the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Relocating these services, and the associated jobs, outside Dublin will demand extreme care. The Implementation Committee (see Decentralisation General Notes below) will examine this issue separately and report to the Government by March 2004.

Note 2: The programme includes 500 health sector staff but, in view of the current position in relation to the health reform programme, the Government has decided not to make any decisions at this time about exactly what staff should be decentralised and to what locations these jobs should be assigned. However, the Government has decided that the new Health Service Executive (incorporating the National Hospitals Office, the Primary, Community and Continuing Care Pillar and the Shared Services Centre) and the Health Information & Quality Authority will all be located outside Dublin.

Note 3: The Government has also decided that, save in exceptional circumstances, any new agencies/bodies being established in future should be located in areas compatible with the new programme of decentralisation.

 

 

DECENTRALISATION - Table 3

Details of Programme by Department

The following Table outlines the Departments, agencies and jobs which it is proposed to transfer out of Dublin. It also shows the target number of jobs for each location. An Implementation Committee is being established to drive forward the implementation process, with the Chair of the Committee reporting to a special Cabinet sub-Committee. The Government may make some adjustments to the detailed provisions below where necessary to ensure continued effective delivery of public services.

Department Organisation/Agency Location
Approx. Nos.
     

Agriculture & Food

Department HQ Portlaoise
400
  Cork City staff Macroom
70
  Bord Bia Enniscorthy
75
  Bord Glas Enniscorthy
10
  Teagasc Carlow
100
  Sub-total  
655
     

Arts, Sport & Tourism

Department HQ Killarney
140
  Arts Council Kilkenny
45
  Fáilte Ireland Mallow
200
  Sports Council Killarney
25
  Sub-total  
410
     
Communications, Marine & Natural Resources

Department HQ Cavan
425
  BIM Clonakilty
150
  Central Fisheries Board Carrick-on-Shannon
40
  Sub-total  
615
     
Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs Department HQ Knock Airport
140
  Department Staff Furbo
10
  ADM Clifden
40
  Foras na Gaeilge Gweedore [2]
30
  Sub-total  
220
     
Defence Department HQ Newbridge
200
  Defence Forces HQ Curragh
300
  Sub-total  
500
     
Education & Science Department HQ Mullingar
300
  Department staff Athlone
100
  Higher Education Authority Athlone
 

National Educational Welfare Board & NCCA

Portarlington
70
  NQAI/HETAC/FETAC Edenderry
75
  Sub-total  
590
     
Enterprise, Trade & Employment Department Staff Carlow
250
  Enterprise Ireland Shannon
300
  FÁS Birr
250
  HSA Thomastown
110
  NSAI Arklow
140
  Sub-total  
1,050
     
Environment, Heritage & Local Govt. Department HQ Wexford
270
  Department Staff New Ross
130
  Department Staff Waterford
200
  Department Staff Kilkenny
60
  LGCSB To be decided
90
  NBA Wexford
55
  Sub-total  
805
     
Finance Department Staff Tullamore
130
  Department IT To be deciced
20
  Revenue Staff Athy
250
  Revenue Staff Kilrush
50
  Revenue Staff Listowel
50
  Revenue Staff Newcastle West
50
  Revenue IT To be decided
500
  OPW HQ Trim
275
  OPW staff Kanturk
100
  OPW staff Claremorris
150
  Civil Service Commission Staff Youghal
100
  OSI Dungarvan
300
  Valuation Office Youghal
100
  Sub-total  
2,075
     
Foreign Affairs Development Co-operation Ireland Limerick
130
  Sub-total  
130
       
Health & Children Various To be decided
500
  Sub-total  
500
       
Justice, Equality & Law Reform Department staff Tipperary
200
  Data Protection Commissioner Portarlington
20
  Equality Authority & Director of Equality Investigations Roscrea
80
  Garda HQ (incl. civilians) Thurles
200
  Garda Complaints Board Portarlington
20
  Land Registry Roscommon
230
  Prison Service HQ Longford
130
  Probation & Welfare Service Navan
100
  Sub-total  
980
       
Social & Family Affairs Department HQ Drogheda
300
  Department staff Buncrana
120
  Department staff Donegal
230
  Department staff Carrick-on-Shannon
225
  Department staff Sligo
100
  Department IT To be decided
225
  Combat Poverty Agency Monaghan
25
  Comhairle Carrickmacross
85
  Sub-total  
1,310
       
Transport Road Haulage Loughrea
40
  Bus Éireann Mitchelstown
200
  Irish Aviation Authority Shannon
100
  National Roads Authority Ballinasloe
90
  National Safety Council Loughrea
10
  Railway Safety Commission Ballinasloe
20
  Sub-total  
460
       
  Overall total  
10,300

 

DECENTRALISATION

General Notes

A wide range of factors have been taken into account and balanced against each other in selecting Departments/agencies for decentralisation and locations for the new decentralised offices. These factors include:

(a) in selecting Departments and agencies for decentralisation:

- the imperative that customer service standards are not adversely affected by decentralisation;

- the core business and nature of the relevant Departments/agencies;

- the location of their customer base;

- the need to ensure that the units involved are large enough to provide career opportunities for staff either within their own Department or in another Department within a reasonable distance;

and

(b) in selecting locations for decentralised offices: .

- the need to achieve a fit with the National Spatial Strategy, in terms of the Gateways, Hubs and their respective catchments;

- the location of existing decentralised offices;

- the desirability of clustering a Department's decentralised units within a region;

- the importance of respecting the scale and character of locations in terms of their capacity to absorb the number of new jobs involved;

- the existence of good transport links – by road, rail and/or air – and the general infrastructural capacity in the areas selected.

By way of illustration:

Department of Agriculture & Food: The headquarters of the Department will move to Portlaoise where it already has a Regional Office.

Department of Education & Science: The headquarters of the Department will transfer to Mullingar, reflecting the Athlone/Mullingar/Tullamore Gateway in the National Spatial Strategy and the fact that the Department already has substantial staff in Athlone and Tullamore.

Defence: The Defence Forces Headquarters will move to the Curragh and the headquarters of the Department of Defence will be located in nearby Newbridge.

Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government: The headquarters of the Department will move to Wexford, a designated Hub in the National Spatial Strategy, complementing the existing location of the Environmental Protection Agency in Wexford.

Office of Public Works: The OPW is charged with the management of civil service property. It is considered that, in the light of the decentralisation programme, it should have regional bases. Its new headquarters will be in Trim, and it will have regional offices in Kanturk (S&E Region) and Claremorris (BMW Region).

Land Registry: The Land Registry already has an office in Waterford (S&E Region). It will retain a Dublin office and will now have another regional office in Roscommon (BMW Region).

 

Implementation

An Implementation Committee is being established to drive the process forward, with the Chair of the Committee reporting to a special Cabinet sub-committee.

A joint Department of Finance/OPW unit will be established to support the Implementation Committee and to liaise with Departments.

Each Minister will establish a decentralisation unit in his/her Department which will report to the Management Advisory Committee and the Minister, and each Department will report on a regular basis to the special Cabinet sub-committee.

The overall objective will be to ensure that property being acquired at regional level is matched as closely as possible, both in time and in cost terms, by disposal of property currently held in the Dublin region, whether held on lease or otherwise. The Implementation Committee will oversee the production of a plan by the OPW by March 2004 to give effect to this objective.

An extra allocation of €20m capital is being included in the Department of Finance Vote for 2004 to meet any up-front capital investment that may be required.

 

Industrial Relations

The programme will be implemented on a voluntary basis. There will be no redundancies and, as on previous occasions, the payment of removal or relocation expenses will not arise.

The existing partnership structures within each Department/agency will deal with any implementation related issues which are specific to that Department/agency. Any public service-wide issues will be addressed under the auspices of the Public Service Monitoring Group provided for in Sustaining Progress.


[1] The relocation of Foras na Gaeilge will require the agreement of the North/South Ministerial Council.

[2] The relocation of Foras na Gaeilge will require the agreement of the North/South Ministerial Council.