Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Sean Barrett (Independent)
I will be brief because the Minister has been most patient with us. There is the issue of tax breaks but there is another issue which I am aware the Minister’s colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, is investigating. The OECD has recommended that we phase out our renewable energy subsidies. If the direct subsidies are under question, therefore, do the tax expenditure subsidies also come under question? Does the Minister have a view on the OECD’s fairly pessimistic views on biomass, wave and wind power and other forms of alternative energy? There is already a heavy burden through the PSO on electricity bills, and the Paris-based OECD appears to believe it is not worth the game in the Irish case. That is the reason I raise the question. If oil prices rise this issue becomes worthwhile but it seems to be taking a long time to become worthwhile and it is having to be subsidised through tax expenditures. Is this the way in which millionaires can lose their tax liability, which would normally go into the Exchequer?