Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht: Select Sub-Committee on the Environment, Community and Local Government
Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013: Committee Stage
This meeting has been convened for the purpose of consideration of the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Bill 2013. I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Fergus O'Dowd, and his officials, Mr. Donal Enright and Ms Marie Gleeson, and thank them for being with us.
Vehicles that are scrapped must have an end of life certificate. We had problems in the past where vehicles which ended up being called "company cars" wound up being driven by joyriders. Is there special monitoring of this in garages? What penalties will be imposed in this regard?
That is not part of this legislation, but it was mentioned on Second Stage. The Department has engaged consultants to undertake a review of the producer responsibility initiative model in Ireland. The report on the review which will be ready in the coming months is expected to make recommendations in a number of areas, including on end of life vehicles. I hope the issue raised by the Deputy will be dealt with. If he submits a parliamentary question on it, we will answer it.
The three and six month tax rates are set at a higher figure than the annual fee to take account of the extra workload involved for the national vehicle driver file in motor tax offices and the additional reminders sent on the date of each renewal. The current half and quarter year duty rates are 55.5% and 28.25% of the annual rate, which rates have remained constant since 1960. The annual income from the increased charge for half year and quarter year discs was over €50 million last year. While costs may have reduced for those paying on-line at three and six month intervals, they are not measurable as such. I take the point, however, that because people have a smaller income, it is more difficult for them.
There is no getting away from the fact that some cars are off the road out of necessity because of the economic situation and people's inability to meet the cost associated with these vehicles. If we can lessen the burden - I accept the remarks made about administrative costs - by allowing someone to pay monthly by direct debit, it would be of great assistance.
The difficulty with making payments by direct debit is that when someone ceases to pay, the Department will not receive the money expected. As I hear the Deputy's remarks, I will talk to the Department about the matter.
The owner does not have to give a reason. If a vehicle is off the road, the owner simply declares that it will be off the road; he or she does not have to give a reason. This is a difficulty if there are certain numbers of vehicles that are only used for certain periods.
I am asking the Minister of State to look specifically at this problem. If they pay tax for six months and expect to be on the road for that long but then business dries up, where do they stand? Will the Minister of State see if there is any way this provision could be relaxed?
We must think outside the box. I appreciate from where the Minister of State is coming in this regard, with a saving of 5% or 10% on the figures collected in the past, but these are issues about which we are hearing on the ground.