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Public sector

  In this week’s bulletin, read about the Irish Government’s latest announcements in the areas of pension auto-enrolment, and SME and entrepreneurship policy. Government announces plans to auto-enrol private workers in pension scheme The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has recently announced key elements of a new system of pension auto-enrolment, set to be implemented on a phased basis from 2022. Under the new system, Workers aged between 23 and 60 earning more than €20,000 a year, will be automatically enrolled in a pension scheme, if not already in one with their workplace. Contributions will start from 1.5 per cent of salary, rising to 6 per cent of salary in their tenth year of employment, giving workers more time to accommodate the increase. There will be opportunities to opt-out and take breaks from contributions, with contributions in the first six months being mandatory. Employers will be required to match contributions, with the Government’s contributions yet to be announced. Key elements of the new system are in line with the Institute’s November 2018 response to the Strawman Public Consultation on the process for an automatic enrolment retirement savings system for Ireland; mainly that automatic enrolment should supplement the state pension, and also complement the existing supplementary pension system. A further consultation process will take place following the finalisation of the remaining elements of the design.   OECD review on Irish SME and Entrepreneurship Policy published Under the Future Jobs initiative, the Irish Government has published a review undertaken by the OECD on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland. A roadmap has also been published which sets out priority areas for implementation.The OECD’s analysis will form the basis for a new Government strategy on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, which will be published by the end of the year following further consultation. Some of the main OECD recommendations cover areas such as broadening the remit of the Local Enterprise Offices, digital and automation skills, and engagement in areas of energy and environment.     Read all our updates in our Public Policy web centre.

Nov 04, 2019
Public sector

Read about the public policy issues making headlines this past week which include a look in more detail at the Irish government’s plans to achieve its climate-change targets and the outcome of the latest EU summit. Latest climate action plan unveiled 200 actions are included in plans to achieve climate-change targets in a Climate Action Plan published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment last week.  Ireland is behind in the EU’s climate action targets of reducing carbon emissions by 2020 and faces fines of several hundreds of millions of euros per year until targets are achieved. Some of the measures proposed to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland include: Carbon tax will rise to €80 per tonne (from €20) by 2030 70 percent of all electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030 (it’s currently 30 percent) Regulations to curb the use of single-use plastics by end of 2021 and eliminate non-recyclable plastic 500,000 homes will be retrofitted Installing oil boilers will be prohibited by 2022 and the installation of gas boilers will be prohibited by 2025 on all new homes. A review on how to replace all oil and gas boilers in existing buildings will be completed this year. No new regulation will come into force before 2026. All buildings undergoing significant renovation must bring the rest of the building up to a minimum BER B2 rating Creating new, sustainable opportunities for family farms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture The cycling path network and park and ride facilities will be expanded A study looking at possible congestion charges will be undertaken by December 2019 In terms of transport, equalising duties on petrol and diesel, changing vehicle registration and motor tax will be considered in Budget 2020 A car scrappage scheme may be introduced in 2020 to encourage people to buy electric vehicles. More broadly, carbon budgets and targets in addition to the normal financial budgets will be established on a five year system.  Ministers of each government Department will be responsible for making targets and there will be penalties for failure to do so.   EU summit discusses climate action and cybersecurity EU leaders are met in Brussels last week to adopt the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024. The EU’s strategy focuses on four main priorities: protecting citizens and freedoms developing a strong and vibrant economic base building a climate-neutral Europe promoting European interests and values on the global stage. Talks also focused on the long-term EU budget, cyberattacks and external relations.  The EU leaders however failed to agree on a new President for the European Commission and will need to reconvene to decide. App Read all our updates in our Public Policy webcentre.

Jun 24, 2019
Brexit

Earlier today, over 150 members attended a lunchtime briefing from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD. Referring to the final negotiations expected to take place over the weekend between Prime Minister May and EU negotiators in advance of Sunday’s summit, the Minister said: “The (draft withdrawal) agreement satisfies our national priorities set out at the outset of the Brexit negotiations, namely to protect the Good Friday Agreement, maintain the common travel area and related benefits, reaffirm our place at the heart of the EU, and protect trade, jobs and the economy. “Of course, we cannot become complacent, as work is underway to ratify the final text by both the UK and the EU.  Irrespective of the future relationship between the UK and the EU, we will face a very different world once the UK does depart.  The UK will inevitably become a ‘third country’.  The status quo will change.” The Minister discussed a broad range of other issues including the improving economic outlook for Ireland, the Finance Bill which has this week passed through the Dail and now moves to the Seanad, international tax policy, and anti-tax avoidance measures, for which he asked for the input and support of the accountancy profession.  The Minister also noted the importance of the accountancy profession in providing certainty in decision making through the provision of reliable financial information and trusted advice. He said: “Accounting is the language of business. It is the communication of economic realities and the base upon which all sustainable and innovative economies are built.  The accounting, auditing and other services you provide allow Governments, investors, shareholders, employees and citizens to see the economic reality.” Today’s audience included delegates at the Institute’s inaugural CPD Blitz Day focused specifically on members in the Public Sector.  An impressive line-up of speakers included Robert Watt, Secretary General Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Aileen Hughes, CIPFA chairperson and Internal controls analyst, ESB. Topics covered included ICT, data analytics, GDPR and Brexit and its  impact on the public sector. Photos of today’s event are available to view HERE.

Nov 23, 2018

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