484 Objectives of section 485
, purposes for which its provisions are enacted and certain duty of Minister for Finance respecting those provisions’ operation
This section contains the objectives of section 485, the purpose for which the provisions are enacted and certain duties of the Minister for Finance in respect of the operating of those duties.
Objectives and purposes of Section 485
(1)(a) The main objectives of section 485 on introducing the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (“CRSS”) are as follows:
- firstly, to provide a necessary additional stimulus to the economy to help mitigate the effects on the economy of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. This is in addition to measures already provided for by Part 7 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 and the Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No. 2 Act) Act 2020, and,
- secondly, to mitigate the effects to the economy from the possibility that, as of 1 January 2021, no agreement has been reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom with respect to a future relationship on relevant matters as prescribed in the Political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
(1)(b) The term “relevant matters” as referred to in subsection (1)(a)(ii) is defined as being the matters as described in Part II of the Political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom which is contained in the Official Journal of the European Union C3841 Volume 62 dated 12 November 2019.
(1)(c) The key purposes of section 485 with reference to the stated main objectives as outlined in subsection (1)(a) are
- to ensure that CRSS is used efficiently to minimise the cost to the Exchequer of the scheme. This is balanced by, and in addition to fulfilling the objectives of the scheme which is to provide the necessary stimulus to the economy.
- to ensure that resources under CRSS are not used by sectors of the economy that do not need any direct stimulus or by any sectors which may reasonably be expected to be restored to financial viability and growth by the indirect effects of the scheme.
- to protect the general public finances by ensuring that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to discontinue or amend the CRSS payments as required in defined circumstances.
- to take account of and reflect any changes in circumstances of persons and businesses who are receiving support under CRSS and who are also availing of other financial supports provided by the state.
- to take account of any changes in circumstances in the State’s economic and financial resources, and relevant demands on same into the future.
(1)(d) The Minister for Finance has a duty to monitor the CRSS and is responsible for the management and arrangement of the scheme. This duty is separate to, and does not derogate, any responsibilities for the care and management of the scheme held by the Revenue Commissioners as conferred on them by Section 485(21).
(1)(e) The Minister for Finance will ensure that an assessment of a number of the relevant matters in relation to the scheme is made at regular intervals. The Minister shall consider the appropriate timing of those assessments, but they shall be at least every three months beginning on 13 October 2020. The Minister is to consider all relevant matters in relation to the scheme but specifically the following:
- up-to-date data compiled by the Department of Finance relating to the State’s receipts and expenditure;
- up-to-date data from the “Live Register” as compiled by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation;
- any other data as may be considered relevant by the Minister for Finance for the purposes of the scheme objectives and purposes;
and by reference to any assessment on economic grounds as commissioned by the Minister in this regard.
(iii) The Minister for Finance, after carrying out any assessments as provided for in subsection (1)(e) and after consultation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, shall determine whether it is necessary to exercise any or all powers as conferred on him under subsection (2)(a). Any such powers as exercised must be as appropriate to fulfil the objectives of the scheme and facilitate the furtherance of the scheme purposes.
Orders that may be made by the Minister for Finance
(2) The Minister for Finance is provided with the necessary powers to make appropriate and necessary Ministerial orders to amend certain operational aspects of the scheme. Any such orders must be made on foot of a determination made under subsection (1)(f) to exercise appropriate powers to fulfil the objectives of the scheme and facilitate the furtherance of the scheme purposes.
(2)(a) In particular the Minister for Finance, as he/she deems fit and necessary, shall make Ministerial orders to amend the following specific aspects of section 485:
- the definition of “Covid restrictions” in section 485(1), that a business must be impacted to a specified extent;
- the definition of “specified period” in section 485(1);
- the percentage amount referred to in section 485(4)(b)(i);
- the percentage amounts referred to in subparagraph (i)(I) or subparagraph (ii)(I) of section 485(7)(a);
- the percentage amounts referred to in subparagraph (i)(II) or subparagraph (ii)(II) of section 485(7)(a) and
- to cease the operation of section 485 (8) or to set out the circumstances in which an election pursuant to that section will be exercisable.
(2)(b) A draft of any and all such orders which are proposed to be made must be laid before Dáil Éireann and any such order shall not be made unless a resolution approving same has been passed by that House.
Relevant Date: Finance Act 2020