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Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020

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28A. Objectives of section 28B, purposes for which its provisions are enacted and certain duty of Minister for Finance respecting those provisions’ operation

(1) The objectives of section 28B are to provide—

(a) the necessary stimulus to the economy so as to mitigate the effects, on the economy, of Covid-19, and

(b) if, as of 1 January 2021, no agreement stands entered into between the European Union and the United Kingdom (with respect to the future relations between them on the relevant matters), to mitigate the effects on the economy which are apprehended may arise therefrom.

(2) In subsection (1)relevant matters” means the matters described in Part II of the Political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom1.

(3) The purposes for which the several provisions of section 28B (in this section referred to as the ‘wage subsidy scheme’) are, in furtherance of the foregoing objectives, enacted are:

(a) in addition to the provision of basic mechanisms to fulfil those objectives, to ensure the efficient use of the wage subsidy scheme so as to minimise the cost to the Exchequer of the scheme (so far as consistent with fulfilment of those objectives);

(b) to avoid, where possible, allocation of resources to sectors of the economy that are not in need of direct stimulus by means of the wage subsidy scheme (and which sectors may reasonably be expected to be restored to financial viability and an eventual growth path by the indirect effects of the scheme);

(c) to protect the public finances through mechanisms for the discontinuance of one or more of the payments under the wage subsidy scheme (or for their variation) in defined circumstances;

(d) to take account of the need to reflect changes in the circumstances of individuals who, as employees, are individuals in respect of whom payments under the wage subsidy scheme are being made, in cases where such individuals avail themselves of other financial supports provided by the State;

(e) to have regard to the importance of maintaining the provision of child care facilities so as to enable parents to continue in, or to take up, positions of employment;

(f) to take account of changes in the State’s economic circumstances and the demands on its financial resources which may occur in the remainder of the current financial year and thereafter.

(4) It shall be the duty of the Minister for Finance to monitor and superintend the administration of the wage subsidy scheme (but this subsection does not derogate from the function of care and management conferred on the Revenue Commissioners by section 28B(19)).

(5) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (4), the Minister for Finance shall cause an assessment, at such intervals as he or she considers appropriate but no less frequently than every 2 months beginning with the passing of the Financial Provisions (Covid-19)(No. 2) Act 2020, of the following, and any other relevant matters, to be made—

(a) up-to-date data from the register commonly referred to as the ‘Live Register’ and data related to that register supplied to the Department of Finance by the [2]>Department of Business, Jobs and Innovation<[2][2]>Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation<[2] (whether data compiled by that last-mentioned Department of State from its own sources or those available to it from sources maintained elsewhere in the Public Service),

(b) up-to-date data compiled by the Department of Finance relating to the State’s receipts and expenditure,

(c) such other data as the Minister may consider relevant in relation to the impact from, and effects of, Covid-19 or the fact (should that be so) of there not being an agreement of the kind referred to in subsection (1)(b),

and, if the following is commissioned, by reference to an assessment, on economic grounds, of the wage subsidy scheme that may be commissioned by the Minister for Finance and any opinion as to the sustainability of the scheme expressed therein.

(6) Following an assessment under subsection (5), it shall be the duty of the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, to determine whether it is necessary to exercise any or all of the powers under paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (21) of section 28B so, as appropriate, to—

(a) fulfil, better, the objectives specified in subsection (1), or

(b) facilitate the furtherance of any of the purposes specified in [3]>subsection (2)<[3][3]>subsection (3)<[3],

and, if the Minister for Finance determines that such is necessary, the powers under one, or more than one, as provided in that subsection (21), of those paragraphs (a) to (c) shall become and be exercisable by the Minister for Finance.

1 OJ No. C384I, 12.11.2019, p. 178

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[1]

[+]

Inserted by FPCovidNo2 s2(2). Comes into operation on and from 1 July 2020

[2]

[-] [+]

Substituted by FA20 s63(2)(a). Comes into operation on 20 October 2020.

[3]

[-] [+]

Substituted by FA20 s63(2)(b). Comes into operation on 20 October 2020.