January 15, 2022

The Minister of Finance expects the legislation for an energy rebate of € 100 to be finalized “very soon”

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said he expects legislation to be drafted “very soon” to facilitate the € 100 rebate for all energy customers that was announced by the government before Christmas.

The € 100 rebate – which will cost around € 200 million – aims to ease the financial burden of rising energy prices as inflation continues to soar to record levels.

Minister Donohoe confirmed that discussions are continuing with energy providers on how to implement the tax and added that the rebate will also apply to users of paid energy services.

“We will have to reach a final agreement with the energy suppliers to then be sure that it will be transmitted to the customers,” he told RTÉ. Today with Claire Byrne program.

“This is under development at the moment and I expect the necessary legislation to do so will be submitted to Dáil very, very soon.

“This is something we want to have in effect for the first quarter of this year. The reason is that we expect some of the most significant pressures on energy prices to occur at this point, ”he added.

His comments come as the finance ministry collected 68.4 billion euros in taxes last year, the highest return on record, according to the Exchequer. The figure was up € 11.2 billion from 2020 levels and more than € 9 billion ahead of a previous record in 2019.

Corporate tax now accounts for more than a fifth of total tax levies and reported a similar amount last year to VAT paid on goods and services.

However, Minister Donohoe said the government still has € 7.4 billion in debt and that, coupled with continued Covid-19 spending, means not everyone can be “completely isolated” from the rising energy costs.

“We do so many things on a lot of other things as well. Can the government act to completely isolate everyone in our country from the effects that are happening – for example with rising energy prices – in truth, we cannot completely isolate everyone from this. The reason is that we have many, many other priorities that our country expects us to meet as well, ”he argued.

Minister Donohoe also defended the € 200million spent on the € 100 energy rebate, which some say is a waste because everyone will benefit from the rebate regardless of how much they earn. .

He described it as a “broad measure” which aims to respond to “broad pressure”.

Regarding reports that some companies that took advantage of the employee wage subsidy scheme – despite large profits – transferred the subsidy money to shareholders, Minister Donohoe said that a “small minority” of companies acted in this way and he hopes that they will return the funds to the state.

“This is not in the spirit of how the wage subsidy program has been implemented by the vast majority of employers who have participated and employers have, in many cases, repaid the funding to the State.

“Those who participate in the program but don’t need the money, I want them to act like the majority did,” he added.

On the use and price of antigen testing, Minister Donohoe acknowledged that home testing is a significant financial burden for some people, but said the government needs to make sure there is a sufficient supply of rapid tests before considering lowering the price.

He pointed out that people under the age of 39 who show symptoms of Covid-19 can get a free test kit through the HSE, but he also acknowledged that this was a “very specific pattern. “.

“It’s a cost for those in particular who have to use them regularly. If we are to intervene in any way with the price, we have to make sure that the supply is available to meet the needs of those who will need it if the price were to fall further.

“At the moment, not everyone can get the antigen tests that need them in the time they want because there are supply issues. Certainly what we could not do at this point is intervene to reduce the price further if we are not sure that the supply will be there – which may increase in response to lower prices ”, a- he explained.

Meanwhile, regarding the call from some quarters for the isolation period for close contacts not symptomatic of Covid-19 to be reduced, Minister Donohoe said it was Nphet’s business but some sectors suffer because of the rule.

“This is something that has a very big effect on the functioning of many workplaces within our public services and the private sector and I think Nphet will take that into account,” he added.

It comes as the Nphet meets today.

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