Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
|1. Vehicles of the following descriptions not exceeding 500 kilograms in weight unladen:
(a)bicycles (other than bicycles which are electrically propelled), or tricycles (other than tricycles neither constructed nor adapted for use nor used for the carriage of a passenger), of which the cylinder capacity of the engine—
|(i) does not exceed 75 cubic centimetres||€43|
|(ii) exceeds 75 cubic centimetres but does not exceed 200 cubic centimetres||€58|
|(iii) exceeds 200 cubic centimetres||€76|
|(b) bicycles or tricycles which are electrically propelled||€31|
|(c)vehicles with three or more wheels neither constructed nor adapted for use nor used for the carriage of a driver or passenger||
|2. (a)Vehicles (commonly known as dumpers) not exceeding 3 metres cubed in capacity, level loaded, designed and constructed for use on sites of construction works (including road construction and house and other building works) for the purpose of conveying concrete, rubble, earth or other like material where the person taking out the licence shows to the satisfaction of the licensing authority that the vehicle is used mainly on such sites, and on public roads only—|
|(i) for the purpose of proceeding to and from the site where it is to be used, and when so proceeding neither carries nor hauls any load other than such as is necessary for its propulsion or equipment, or
(ii) for the purpose of conveying concrete, rubble, earth or like material for a distance of not more than one kilometre to and from any such site
|(b)Vehicles (commonly known as off-road dumpers) exceeding 3 metres cubed in capacity, level loaded, designed and constructed primarily for use on sites of construction works (including road construction and house and other building works) for the purpose of conveying concrete, rubble, earth or other like material and incapable by reason of their design and construction of exceeding a speed of 55 kilometres per hour on a level road under their own power and which are the subject of special permits under the Road Traffic (Special Permits for Particular Vehicles) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 283 of 2007)||
|(c)Any vehicle (other than a vehicle constructed or adapted for use and used for the conveyance of a machine, workshop, contrivance or implement, by or in which goods being conveyed by such vehicle are processed or manufactured while the vehicle is in motion) constructed or adapted for use and used only for the conveyance of a machine, workshop, contrivance or implement (being a machine, workshop, contrivance or implement which is built in as part of the vehicle or otherwise permanently attached thereto) and no other load except articles used in connection with such machine, workshop, contrivance or implement or goods processed or manufactured therein including any vehicle (commonly known as a recovery vehicle) constructed or permanently adapted for the purposes of lifting, towing and transporting a disabled vehicle or for any one or more of those purposes||
|(d) Vehicles (commonly know as forklift trucks) designed and constructed for the purpose of loading and unloading goods where the person taking out the licence shows to the satisfaction of the licensing authority that the vehicle is used on public roads only—|
|(i) for the purpose of proceeding to and from the site where it is to be used for loading and unloading, and when so proceeding neither carries nor hauls any load other than such as is necessary for its propulsion or equipment, or
(ii) as part of the process of loading or unloading, for the purpose of conveying goods for a distance of not more than one kilometre to and from the site where it is loading or unloading
|3. (a) Vehicles constructed or adapted for the carriage of more than 8 persons which are owned by a youth or community organisation and which are used exclusively by the organisation solely for the purpose of conveying persons on journeys directly related to the activities of the organisation and which have seating capacity for —|
|(i) more than 8 persons but not more than 20 persons
(ii) more than 20 persons but not more than 40 persons
(iii) more than 40 persons but not more than 60 persons
(iv) more than 60 persons
|(b)Vehicles (other than those referred to in subparagraph (c) of this paragraph) used as large public service vehicles within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1961, and having seating capacity for—|
|(i) more than 8 persons but not more than 20 persons
(ii) more than 20 persons but not more than 40 persons
(iii) more than 40 persons but not more than 60 persons
(iv) more than 60 persons
|(c) Vehicles which are large public service vehicles within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1961, and which are used only for the carriage of children, or children and teachers, being carried to or from school or to or from school-related physical education activities, and are either licensed under Article 60 of the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations 1963 (S.I. No. 191 of 1963) as amended, or owned or operated by a statutory transport undertaking.||
|4. Vehicles of the following descriptions:
(a) vehicles designed, constructed and used for the purpose of trench digging or any kind of excavating or shovelling work which—
|(i) are used on public roads only for that purpose or the purpose of proceeding to and from the place where they are to be used for that purpose, and
(ii) when so proceeding neither carry nor haul any load other than such as is necessary for their propulsion or equipment
|(b) tractors (being tractors designed and constructed primarily for use otherwise than on roads and incapable by reason of their construction of exceeding a speed of 50 kilometres per hour on a level road under their own power) and agricultural engines, not being tractors or engines used for hauling on roads any objects except their own necessary gear, threshing appliances, farming implements or supplies of fuel or water required for the purposes of the vehicles or agricultural purposes||
|(c) tractors (being tractors designed and constructed primarily for use otherwise than on roads and incapable by reason of their construction of exceeding a speed of 50 kilometres per hour on a level road under their own power and not being tractors in respect of which a duty is chargeable at the rate specified in subparagraph (b) of this paragraph) which are used for haulage in connection with agriculture and for no other purpose||
|Where a tractor is fitted with a detachable platform, container or implement (being a platform, container or implement used primarily for farm work), goods or burden of any other description conveyed on or in the platform, container or implement shall be regarded for the purposes of this subparagraph as being hauled by the tractor,|
|(d) tractors of any other description||€288|
|(e) motor caravans, being vehicles which are shown to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners to be designed, constructed or adapted to provide temporary living accommodation which has an interior height of not less than 1.8 metres when measured in such manner as may be approved by the Revenue Commissioners and, in respect of which vehicles, such design, construction or adaptation incorporates the following permanently fitted equipment—|
|(i) a sink unit,
(ii) cooking equipment of not less than a hob with 2 rings or such other cooking equipment as may be prescribed, and
(iii) any other equipment or fittings as may be prescribed
|(f)vehicles which are kept and used exclusively on an offshore island to which there is no direct road or bridge access from the mainland||
|5. Vehicles (including tricycles weighing more than 500 kilograms unladen) constructed or adapted for use and used for the conveyance of goods or burden of any other description in the course of trade or business (including agriculture and the performance by a local or public authority of its functions) and vehicles constructed or adapted for use and used for the conveyance of a machine, workshop, contrivance or implement by or in which goods being conveyed by such vehicles are processed or manufactured while the vehicles are in motion:|
|(a) being vehicles which are electrically propelled and which do not exceed 1,500 kilograms in weight unladen
(b) being vehicles which are not such electrically propelled vehicles as aforesaid and which have a weight unladen—
|(i) not exceeding 3,000 kilograms||€288|
|(ii) exceeding 3,000 kilograms but not exceeding 4,000 kilograms||€364|
|(iii) exceeding 4,000 kilograms but not exceeding 5,000 kilograms||€470|
|(iv) exceeding 5,000 kilograms but not exceeding 6,000 kilograms||€651|
|(v) exceeding 6,000 kilograms but not exceeding 7,000 kilograms||€882|
|(vi) exceeding 7,000 kilograms but not exceeding 8,000 kilograms||€1,110|
|(vii) exceeding 8,000 kilograms but not exceeding 20,000 kilograms||€1,110
plus €261 for each 1,000 kilograms or part thereof in excess of 8,000 kilograms
|(viii) exceeding 20,000 kilograms||€4,496|
|6. Vehicles other than those charged with duty under the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Schedule:
(a) any vehicle which is used as a hearse and for no other purpose,
|(b) any vehicle (excluding a taxi) which is used as a small public service vehicle within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1961, and for no other purpose,||
|(c) any vehicle which is fitted with a taximeter and is lawfully used as a street service vehicle within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1961, and for purposes incidental to such use and for no other purpose,||
|(d) any vehicle which is—
(i) a new vehicle which is registered on or after 1 July 2008 under section 131 of the Finance Act 1992 as a category A vehicle, or
(ii) registered outside of the State on or after 1 January 2008 and which is subsequently registered in the State on or after 1 July 2008 under section 131 of the Finance Act 1992 as a category A vehicle and which has an identification mark assigned by the Revenue Commissioners under section 131(5) of the Finance Act 1992 which signifies that the vehicle was first brought into use during or after the year 2008,
and which has a CO2 emissions level—
|(I) not exceeding 120 grams per kilometre||€104|
|(II) exceeding 120 grams per kilometre but not exceeding 140 grams per kilometre||€156|
|(III) exceeding 140 grams per kilometre but not exceeding 155 grams per kilometre||€302|
|(IV) exceeding 155 grams per kilometre but not exceeding 170 grams per kilometre||€447|
|(V) exceeding 170 grams per kilometre but not exceeding 190 grams per kilometre||€630|
|(VI) exceeding 190 grams per kilometre but not exceeding 225 grams per kilometre||€1,050|
|(VII) exceeding 225 grams per kilometre||€2,100|
|(A) cannot be confirmed by the Revenue Commissioners by reference to the relevant EC type-approval certificate or EC certificate of conformity, and|
|(B) the Revenue Commissioners are not satisfied of by reference to any other document produced in support of the declaration for registration pursuant to section 131 of the Finance Act 1992||
|(e) subject to subparagraph (f), other vehicles to which this paragraph applies and which—|
|(i) have an engine capacity not exceeding 1,000 cubic centimetres||€172|
|(ii) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,000 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,100 cubic centimetres||
|(iii) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,100 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,200 cubic centimetres||
|(iv) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,200 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,300 cubic centimetres||
(v) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,300 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,400 cubic centimetres
|(vi) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,400 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,500 cubic centimetres||
|(vii) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,500 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,600 cubic centimetres||
|(viii) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,600 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,700 cubic centimetres||
|(ix) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,700 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,800 cubic centimetres||
|(x) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,800 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 1,900 cubic centimetres||
|(xi) have an engine capacity exceeding 1,900 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,000 cubic centimetres||
|(xii) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,000 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,100 cubic centimetres||
|(xiii) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,100 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,200 cubic centimetres||
|(xiv) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,200 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,300 cubic centimetres||
|(xv) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,300 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,400 cubic centimetres||
|(xvi) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,400 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,500 cubic centimetres||
|(xvii) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,500 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,600 cubic centimetres||
|(xviii) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,600 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,700 cubic centimetres||
|(xix) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,700 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,800 cubic centimetres||
|(xx) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,800 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 2,900 cubic centimetres||
|(xxi) have an engine capacity exceeding 2,900 cubic centimetres but not exceeding 3,000 cubic centimetres||
|(xxii) have an engine capacity exceeding 3,000 cubic centimetres||€1,566|
|(xxiii) is electrically propelled,||€146|
|(f) where a vehicle mentioned in paragraph 6(e) which at the time of registration is a new vehicle—|
|(i) which is registered under section 131 of the Finance Act 1992 as a category A vehicle during the period beginning on 1 January 2008 and ending on 30 June 2008, and|
|(ii) in respect of which the rate of duty that would have applied to it under paragraph 6(d)(i), if that paragraph had been in operation when it was so registered and had applied to it, is less that the rate of duty specified in relation to it in paragraph 6(e),
then, the rate of duty as respects that vehicle for licences taken out under section 1 of this Act on or after 1 July 2008 for periods beginning on or after that date shall be the rate of duty specified in paragraph 6(d).”.
This resolution provides for the amendment of the Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Act 1952 and the Finance (No. 2) Act 1992, as extended by the Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licenses) Act 2008 with regard to rates of motor tax and fees for trade licence plates. It is important to note that the proceeds from motor tax are not paid into the Exchequer but are paid directly into the local government fund to support the funding of local authorities.
Deputy John Gormley: The fund is used predominately to finance non-national roads and the general purpose needs of local authorities. The fund is also supplemented with a financial contribution from central Government.
The new rates will apply to motor tax discs and trade licences taken out for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009. The increases maintain the strong incentive in the motor tax system, which this Government introduced last year, to switch to lower emission cars when purchasing new vehicles. While increasing any tax is not popular it should be noted that motor tax increases since 2000, including the increase now before the House, are below the inflation rate over the intervening eight year period. It is anticipated the proposed increases in motor tax rates will raise €40 million extra for local government next year.
On the experience of three months’ cars sales since the new VRT and motor tax systems came into effect we are already beginning to see a strong trend towards the purchase of new cars with lower emissions.
Deputy John Gormley: That trend will assist Ireland in moving towards a lower emission economy. However, the tax changes were also introduced on a second principle of revenue neutrality. I intend to keep the motor tax system under review, in consultation with the motor industry, to ensure it meets these twin objectives over future years.
Deputy John Gormley: However, the funding of local government must be broadened if it is to be sustained. As set out in the Green Paper on Local Government, which I published last April, I am strongly of the belief that we need to strengthen the role of local government in Ireland. The institutional and political reforms to be included in the forthcoming White Paper need to be accompanied by reforms of local government funding. We have begun that process with the new measures to broaden the revenue base of local government announced in today’s budget.
I will now highlight for the House the impact of the proposed changes for private cars and goods vehicles. These vehicles make up more than 91% of the national fleet. For private cars taxed on the basis of engine size the extra cost for most motorists will be between €7 and €13 a year — that is between 13 cent and 25 cent a week. This relates to more than 50% of the national car fleet which is made up of cars under 1400 cc. For the remainder of the car fleet up to two litre the annual increases will be from €14 to €24 and from two litre upwards an additional €30 to €75 per year. In summary, the extra costs for 94% of the car fleet, that is those under two litres, will be between 13 cent and 46 cent a week.
For private cars on the new CO2 based system, bands A to D will see an annual increase of between €4 and €17, while for bands E, F and G the annual increases range from €30 to €100. For goods vehicles the effect of the 4% increase will vary depending on the weight of the vehicle. However, I emphasise that 87% of goods vehicles are at the lowest level of charge, meaning owners will pay an annual increase of €11 or 21 cent per week.
A 4% increase is also proposed for trade licences, or trade plates, used by motor traders on vehicles temporarily in their possession, in lieu of taxing such vehicles. The increase for a pair of trade plates will be €12. This financial resolution will cease on the enactment of the relevant Bill, which will be presented to the House at the earliest possible date.
Deputy Phil Hogan: The Minister should not try to justify it on the basis that it is a major initiative for local government financing and local government reform. It is a grab for cash for local government.
Deputy Phil Hogan: I know the Minister does not like motorists because this budget has increased the price of petrol by 8 cent per litre and motorists have been hammered again this year with motor tax in the same way as they were last year——
The Minister failed to get enough money in the Estimates to justify the service of local government. He is asking local councils and councillors to impose more charges and hike up commercial rates paid by small business people to balance the books for his incompetence in not securing the necessary funds from the Department of Finance.
Deputy Phil Hogan: The Minister had his chance to speak and I did not interrupt him. I want to confirm that what the Minister proposes in conjunction with his colleagues shows his total contempt for the motorist. However, the Minister is in favour of the cyclist. A new initiative will be introduced for the cyclist while the motorist is hammered in the process. We rest our case on this side of the House as to where the Minister’s loyalty lies. I know he has a personal interest in this matter. However, as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, I would have expected him to confirm an additional initiative on emissions for motor vehicles. The Minister could have proposed, but failed to do so, in the Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Act earlier this year to backdate some of the VRT changes for second-hand cars. The driver file contains all the information needed to do that.
The Minister, however, is out of touch with what is happening in the motor trade. There are millions of euro worth of used cars lying idle in every motor sales garage because of the incompetent manner in which he implemented the VRT changes.
Deputy Phil Hogan: The Minister is not good at understanding what is happening in the motor trade. Rather than increasing local government funding with this proposal, there will instead be a reduction in the tax take as I warned last year. The Minister fails to understand that the changes he made to VRT are not contributing to enhancing the amount of moneys going to local government. No car sales are taking place; forecourts are full of used cars. Figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry demonstrate a massive reduction in the number of used cars being sold.
I support the Minister’s aim in changes to VRT. However, he introduced the scheme on 1 July 2008, when consumer behaviour and practice should have informed him that 1 January is when people make up their minds on purchasing new vehicles. Unfortunately, common sense has not prevailed. The Minister is making another grab for cash. There will be an additional financial burden on goods vehicles at a time when their owners are under pressure to make ends meet because of the enhanced costs imposed by the Government over the past several years.
Deputy Phil Hogan: It is not entirely the Minister’s fault. His predecessors have also brought about a rapid deterioration in the competitiveness of the economy and difficulties in the costs for small businesses. Fine Gael will not support a measure that is simply a grab for cash without any reform. The measure will take more money out of consumers’ pockets, particularly when an average of €2,000 will also be taken out of workers’ pockets with today’s 1% income levy.
Deputy Joanna Tuffy: The Minister has acknowledged this is just a money-raising measure while at the same time trying to play the green card, as he did last year. To get the benefit of the new rating introduced in July, one has to be in the position to buy a new car. The point I made on last year’s budget still applies. When the Minister talks about changing driver behaviour, he is actually talking about changing consumption behaviour. Instead of buying one product, it just encourages people to buy another product. If one has the money, one can buy a new car. I note there is no increase in the tax on electric cars. Most people will not have the luxury of being able to buy one of these cars.
Deputy Joanna Tuffy: An increase will be imposed on large public service vehicles which are used only for the carriage of children. If the Minister was serious about a green measure, those are the class of vehicles which should have had their motor taxes reduced.
Deputy Joanna Tuffy: The Minister has disassociated himself from that particular carbon tax. Why? It is because it will place a large burden on the average family. For all the talk about carbon taxes, the Minister will not admit to the very carbon tax in this budget.
As a Green Party Minister, if he really wanted to tackle carbon emissions from the transport sector, why is the Minister allowing the Department of Transport to make Dublin Bus take buses off the road? Why was that not his bottom line when he entered government? Why did he not make his priority putting more buses on the road, instead of measures such as this which are simply about raising revenue?
Deputy Arthur Morgan: I can only describe this as a punitive tax. It is aimed at the many people who have either no or poor access to public transport services. It is aimed at small cars, engines under 2.5 litres, owned mainly by low-income families struggling to get to their place of work. They are probably thankful they still have a job and recognise they are under significant threat. No provision was made in the budget for dealing with public transport. The Minister, as Deputy Hogan said, has used smash and grab tactics to take money from low-income earners. It is disgraceful.
We all recognise that local government needs funding. It has not received proper funding since 1977 which has not been fixed by any Government since. An effort should have been made to correct that dearth of funding for local government, not putting it on the backs of those with small motor vehicles who use them to get to work.
The Green Party has abandoned rural Ireland and those in satellite towns around Dublin city who regard their cars as a necessity to get to work because of the disgraceful provision of public transport.
Deputy Kathleen Lynch: I am glad the Minister has admitted this measure is nothing more than a grab for local government funding. He was clearly not successful in his budget negotiations. An Oireachtas committee, of which Deputy Hogan was a member, sat for two years investigating the high cost of car insurance. The tax on cars now costs more than insurance cost two years ago. It is outrageous and I do not understand how the Government believes people can afford it. If the Minister knew anything about how the motor trade operates, last December he would not have announced a change in VRT to be introduced in July. The repercussions of that decision were seen in Cork recently with the loss of many jobs in the industry.
In my language, and that of anyone else I have asked, this means the Minister is offering to pay people with a bike. Forget people’s salary, we will give them bikes. Not only will they get a bike, we will decide what colour it is because obviously different employers will have different colours. It will probably have a logo. As for the safety equipment, where would one be without a bell on one’s bike? What about a lamp? What about a dynamo or bicycle safety clips?
Deputy Pádraic McCormack: This is certainly a tax on rural workers. The measure is anti-rural, as the Minister does not seem to realise that in cities such as Galway people must commute from Clifden, Lettermullen, Carraroe and various other places. It would be a nice thing to ask them to come in on a windy day on a bike from Lettermullen. If the Minister has ever been on that road, he will know what I am talking about.
Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Now that the road programme for that area has been abandoned, there will not even be a road to travel on because there is no money. Will the block support grant to local authorities be kept up to the level of inflation? If the Minister is genuine about local government, will the extra money raised by the new budgetary proposals be given to local authorities? He says he wants to improve local authority services and while that is a debate for another day, he will have a big job on his hands to improve them. Local authority services have deteriorated significantly. One cannot get anybody to answer telephones, return calls or reply to letters. When we call, we are told that programme managers are out and nobody knows when they will be back. The situation is impossible but we will have this debate on another day as there is not enough time now. I want to know, however, if the block grant to local authorities will be kept in line with inflation.
Deputy James Bannon: We were promised a modern rail system across the country and that rail links would be opened up throughout the country. Deputies O’Rourke and Kelly from my constituency promised that the rail link between two gateway towns, Athlone and Mullingar, would be opened up. We were also told the rail link in Killucan would be opened up, but nothing has happened. There is nothing in the programme for Government, as all the proposed ideas have been abandoned. The Government has carried on in a shameful manner. Now it is closing the barracks in Longford, which is vital to the local economy.
Deputy James Bannon: I will deal with this issue tomorrow. Ministers should be ashamed of themselves. The decision will have detrimental effects across the midlands region. The public have been codded by the stealth taxes and levies imposed by this Government.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: ——over the next four years until the last possible moment, when it will be decimated. One of the key points is that spending on public transport has been slashed by €70 million, which was announced by the Minister for Transport.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The capital budget for public transport was slashed by €70 million. A number of valuable projects, such as the western rail corridor, the Navan line, metro west and the Luas link-up, have been shafted. Many people are totally dependent on private transport, yet in addition to the 8 cent rise in petrol prices, the carbon levy tax will impose an extra 4%. In August, the number of new private cars registered fell by over 30%.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: In September, the number fell by 40%. The Minister will attain some of his carbon emission targets by plunging the country into a total recession. We are heading into a full recession, to put the Government’s failure in context. I support cycling and many Members of the House spent a large part of their lives cycling. In the broader context, however, the Minister has failed in his mission by slashing public transport.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Since then I have become more concerned as to the circumstances whereby he came to be released. If he is allowed to continue on his present tangent, not only will he be cycling in front of squad cars, we will have the whole country cycling in front of squad cars because they will not be able to do anything else.
Deputy John Gormley: On the one hand, Opposition Members say they want better local government and increased funding. This money is going towards local government. Either the Opposition wants to fund local government or it does not.
Deputy John Gormley: Deputy Morgan said that there has not been proper funding of local government since 1977. Let us see what the alternatives are. When it comes down to it, the Opposition does not have any real alternatives. That is the difficulty. Deputy Hogan is now imploring local councils not to agree to any rates increase. That is fine.
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