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Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse DOherty Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
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Government 'knew bank levy could be passed onto consumers'

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty says that new figures from the Minister of Finance showed that the Central Bank has approved seven full applications for hikes in charges.

THE CENTRAL BANK has approved eight increases in charges, or new charges, since the introduction of the bank levy last October.

That’s according to Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, who has released figures obtained from the Minister of Finance today on the issue.

He says that the banks have “passed on” the levy to consumers.

Deputy Doherty has also released an extract of a Freedom of Information request on the issue. This email shows, he says, “that while officials considered amending the levy to prevent covered institutions passing on the levy, this did not form part of the final legislation”.

imageCan’t read this extract properly? Click here.

Deputy Doherty said:

I am disappointed but not surprised that the banks seem to have simply passed on the bank levy to customers. This levy was justified on the basis that the banks should be contributing more to economic recovery. It seems the banks disagree and once more the government has failed to stand up to them.

Charges

He said that the Central Bank can refuse an application from a bank for some increases or new charge.

“Since the Budget in October of last year which brought in this levy it has approved seven full applications and partially approved one application for hikes in charges,” he said.

Doherty accused the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, as having “once again simply let the banks off the hook”.

Minister Noonan cannot provide details of each application approved by the Central Bank, as he does not have a role in approving or rejecting such charges.

The bank levy was slated to raise €150 million from this year until 2016 for Irish domestic banks.

The levies for each individual institution are broadly based on the amount of tax paid on deposit interest in 2011.

Bank of Ireland, for example, estimated that the levy will cost it €40 million a year.

Read: Bank levy will cost Bank of Ireland €40 million a year>

Read: Levy on banks of €150 million a year until 2016>

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