Tánaiste seeks to allow remote workers claim back 30% of bills – reports

Seen & Heard: NatWest indicates phased withdrawal from Irish market will take two more years

Leo Varadkar has been pushing for a remote working tax break to be included in Budget 2022 so  workers who want to continue to do their job at home can cover some of their additional costs. Photograph: iStock

Leo Varadkar has been pushing for a remote working tax break to be included in Budget 2022 so workers who want to continue to do their job at home can cover some of their additional costs. Photograph: iStock

 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is seeking to allow remote workers to claim back up to 30 per cent of their annual heating and electricity bills in a budget tax break which could cost the exchequer €8 million a year, the Business Post reports. Mr Varadkar, who is the Minister for Enterprise, has been pushing for a remote working tax break to be included in Budget 2022 so that workers who want to continue to do their job at home can cover some of their additional costs. His officials have submitted proposals which would allow workers to claim back up to 30 per cent of the cost of their electricity and heating bills while they are working from home. The current limit for such expenses is 10 per cent of electricity and heating bills.

Ulster Bank parent NatWest Group has indicated that its phased withdrawal from the Irish market will take at least two more years, with the transfer of loan books to buyers AIB and Permanent TSB taking up to 18 months. The Sunday Times reports that NatWest chief executive Alison Rose told a Bank of America financials virtual conference that investors should look at its closure of Ulster Bank and exit from the Irish market as a “multiyear” process. Ulster Bank announced its withdrawl from the Irish market earlier this year. Ms Rose told the conference said that she hoped to reach terms with Permanent TSB by the end of the year on a deal to sell €7 billion worth of non-tracker mortgages and €600 million of SME loans and asset finance business.

Permanent TSB is to create 300 new jobs before the end of the year, as it looks to enable growth in areas such as digital. The Sunday Independent reports the bank had recently been bringing in new skills to support its “rapid growth agenda” recently. As well as digital, it has been adding skills in areas such as data analytics, customer service, and risk management.

The Sunday Times reports Google is unhappy about the commercial rates it pays at its Velasco building in Dublin’s docklands. The tech giant has won an appeal at the Valuation Tribunal, an independent State body that decides on rates disputes, over an “inequitable” €363,140-a-year bill for the Velasco building which it leases from Irish Life. The decision was made by the tribunal in June and published last week. Google had claimed the original bill was “excessive and inequitable” and argued that it should be reduced to €309,540. The Valuation Tribunal adjusted the building’s rates to reflect the use of its basement as a store but was “not convinced” there was a case for a lower overall rate. It settled on annual rates of €346,390, less than the €363,140 Google was originally charged but more than the €309,540 it said was fair.

The Government is set to press ahead with new regulations to designate data centres as “strategic infrastructure”, despite the unfolding energy crisis facing the country, the Business Post has said. The move, which will grant data centre developers access to the fast-track planning process, comes after Eirgrid warned last week that the electricity system is stretched beyond capacity due to the “unprecedented” growth in demand from the facilities, as well as the wider electrification of the economy. The Planning and Development Act allows for strategic infrastructure to access a “special planning application process”, where plans are submitted directly to An Bord Pleanála rather than local planning authorities.

The Post also reports household rubbish collections are at risk of disruption due to severe capacity constraints in the waste management sector. Senior industry sources have told the paper that the sector is struggling to handle a surge in household and commercial waste volumes in recent months as the economy reopens. Ireland currently produces about 1.7 million tons of municipal waste every year and capacity levels at waste facilities are described as being on a “knife-edge”. The State  does not have enough capacity to process all the waste generated here and about 20 per cent of all municipal waste, the equivalent of almost 330,000 tons of material, is exported to incinerators in Germany and the Netherlands for processing. The industry is now without that option, however, after the summer flooding in Europe left mountains of debris and rubbish piled along roadsides in Germany, Belgium and other affected countries.