Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 30 September, 2003

Written Answers. - Special Savings Incentive Scheme.

  146. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Finance the number of special savings investment scheme accounts opened at the latest date for which figures are available; the average amount of savings per investor per month; the likely cost to the Exchequer of the scheme on the basis of such figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20774/03]

  156. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of the position in relation to the special incentive saving scheme, outlining the average amount being invested and the numbers of people who have left the scheme since its inception. [20947/03]

  Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 146 and 156 together.

  I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, based on the 2002 annual returns furnished by all qualifying savings managers, the total number of active accounts at 31 December 2002 was 1,143,418 and the average monthly subscription at that date was €158. They have also advised that the total number of special savings incentive accounts, SSIAs, that were closed since the commencement of the scheme on 1 May 2001 to 31 December 2002 was 39,557.

  It is not possible to give a definitive answer as to the eventual cost of the scheme as it is subject to a number of variables such as where participants die, withdraw from the scheme or vary their monthly contributions. If the current average monthly payment based on subscriptions to the scheme to 31 July 2003 continues for the full year, the annual cost in 2003 would be approximately €530 million. This, however, is not a conclusive figure, and the final figure may be different than that, if account holders change their monthly contributions.