Dáil Éireann - Volume 282 - 19 June, 1975

Excess Vote, 1972-73. - Vote 19: Valuation and Ordnance Survey.

Minister for Lands (Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick, (Cavan): I move:

That a sum not exceeding £1,351,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1975, for the salaries and expenses of the Valuation Office, the Ordnance Survey and certain minor services.

Mr. Colley: This is an area which is likely to be fairly substantially affected by the passage of the measures of capital taxation. Could I ask whether there are any plans to increase staff in the Valuation Office? That is one thing I want to know. The other thing I want to know is whether there has been any indication of staff leaving the office in recent times. There is a risk that persons who are experienced in valuation will be in very great demand and they may be stolen —if I may put it that way—from the Valuation Office for the purpose of compliance with the requirements of the capital taxation legislation.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The staff has already been increased from 380 to 467. That is a substantial increase.

Mr. Colley: It is, indeed, but they are obviously not all valuers.

[1081] Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): A substantial number of valuers are there already and, as the Deputy knows, a good deal of valuations have to be done throughout the country. I do not think the matter the Deputy has in mind will give rise to a very great number of valuations by the Valuation Office, but such further staff as may be necessary will be recruited from time to time.

Mr. Colley: Is there any indication of qualified valuers being enticed away from the Valuation Office?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I understand there are no more leaving the Valuation Office now than have been leaving in the past. From time to time those in that office and other Departments change their minds and go into private enterprise, but there is no abnormal increase.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Would the Minister comment on the very substantial increase in salaries and wages and also in regard to the additional number of staff employed even taking into account the fact that one set of figures relates to a nine-month period and the other to a 12-month period? The estimate is double last year's figure on the salary side. The word “substantial” is not even adequate in relation to Social Welfare (Employer's Contribution) where there is an enormous increase—four-and-a-half times approximately.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): We are dealing with a 12-month year as against a nine-month year and with a staff of 467 as against 388. Of course the social welfare contributions have increased.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Would the Minister not comment on the fact that the figure for Social Welfare (Employer's Contribution) has gone from £3,400 to £16,000?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Many people are now compulsorily insurable who were not insurable previously. That is the major reason for the increase.

[1082] Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Allowing for the nine-month period and the increase in staff, salaries and wages have gone from £655,000 to £1.2 million.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Wages and salaries have increased under the national agreement.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: As a result of inflation. We now see the results of the Government's mishandling. Their bluff is being called to some extent when these estimates are being explored and I hope they realise this. It is more important than the second channel and I think they should concentrate more on these problems.

Vote put and agreed to.