Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Darragh O'Brien (Fianna Fail)
Does the Department or the Office of the Revenue Commissioners track the excise duty on motor fuel? I am interested in hearing the answer to the question on the proportion of tax taken on a litre of fuel. At budget time, it was stated the cost of a litre was approximately €1.50 or €1.51 but this has increased to €1.68 to €1.70. The international pressures that bring themselves to bear in this regard are absolutely understood. I am interested in knowing whether the Revenue Commissioners track receipts and excise duty on motor fuel and how regularly they do so.
It is evident to all that car usage is way down, as people are not using cars. The Minister mentioned carbon taxes in respect of climate change and while I will not go into that issue, I note that before entering office, the Government was committed to signing up to the climate change Bill. However, the Minister’s colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, has kicked this down the line and any pledge that might have been signed by Government Deputies or Senators at that time appears to have gone out the window. Climate change is an important issue and although Members are no longer obliged to hear about it every day because their colleagues in the Green Party are not in the Oireachtas any more, people still are aware of it. Further concerns in this regard will arise if it is proved correct that the Government is considering a change to the motor tax designation of cars whereby it will revert to setting such a designation by engine size as opposed to by emissions. The standard of motor vehicles has improved greatly and if reports in the newspapers are true - I do not suggest they always are - the Government is considering a move back towards engine size as a basis on which to charge people for road tax. If this is the case, it surely must be a sign that the reason Members are not hearing about climate change is because the Government simply does not care about it. Nevertheless, I seek details, if available, on excise duty receipts from Revenue and on how often they are tracked.