Dáil Éireann - Volume 482 - 12 November, 1997
Written Answers. - Equal Treatment Arrears.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
266. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the measures, if any, which were taken by the Government to find the necessary finance in order to pay outstanding equal treatment arrears in recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18649/97]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy) Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The moneys paid from the Exchequer in respect of equal treatment arrears amounted to approximately £194.6 million in 1995, £57.5 million in 1996 and £10.7 million in 1997. It is anticipated that the last, small remaining payments in respect of the equal treatment arrears will be made by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs in 1998.
Following a High Court decision in 1995 on the question of equal treatment, the then Government decided that, in addition to a sum of £60 million provided in the budget of 1995 towards the costs of the equal treatment arrears, there would be a disposal of assets. This decision was taken to ensure that the remaining costs could be met in a timely way, while remaining within the budgetary targets. It was decided to raise additional money through securitisation of part of the receipts arising from local authority mortgages. In essence, the stream of income due from housing loans which were made by the local authorities, with finance borrowed from the local loans fund, was sold for an up-front capital payment. To facilitate this arrangement, the Securitisation (Proceeds of Certain Mortgages) Act, 1995 was enacted in that year. The National Treasury Management Agency developed and oversaw the arrangements for the securitisation scheme.
The securitisation arrangement realised payments to the Exchequer in 1995 of £139.3 million and of £49.5 million in 1996. These moneys made  a significant contribution to meeting the costs arising in respect of equal treatment arrears. The balance of financial provision in respect of equal treatment payments was provided in the context of the Estimates process for the years in question.
In summary, approximately £262.8 million has been provided in respect of equal treatment arrears up to the end of 1997, and the process of securitisation has yielded approximately £188.8 million towards meeting that cost, with the balance provided in the normal budgetary context.
Dáil Éireann 482 Written Answers. Equal Treatment Arrears.