Opening Bell: Employers should handle pension payments, Noonan on NAMA, Channel 4 secures Great British Bake Off

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The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has warned that crippling insurance premiums are forcing haulage companies to leave the country and costing the Exchequer millions in lost revenue.

The IRHA has revealed trucking firms are moving their operations as far away as Bulgaria to avail of cheaper insurance.

The association is among a number of commercial groups giving evidence to the Oireachtas Finance committee later today on the insurance issue.

IRHA President IRHA Verona Murphy said:

"In Ireland the cost of insuring a vehicle and motor fleet is about €5,000 per truck. The equivalent of that in the UK is €3,000 and in Bulgaria it's €2,500.

"So many operators are 'reflagging' on that basis and each time a truck leaves the jurisdiction the value to the Exchequer is a quarter of a million – that's lost."

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Employers should be forced to contribute 5% of a worker's salary to help fund their retirement, according to Insurance Ireland.

The representative body published its road map for a universal pension plan yesterday and argued that the Government's planned MySaver scheme could "dramatically" increase pension coverage for Irish employees.

The CSO recently reported that just 47% of the population now has a private pension, down from 54% in 2008. It means Ireland now has the second-largest pension gap in Europe, behind the UK.

Insurance Ireland chief executive Kevin Thompson said:

"Given our demographics and coverage rates, we urgently need a policy approach that maximises participation, achieves simplification of offering and reduces costs."

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Minster for Finance Michael Noonan has said he won't rule out a Commission of Investigation into the sale of NAMA's Northern Irish loans.

However, he said an inquiry can only be ordered after the Public Accounts Committee investigates it first.

Noonan is due to bring a report from the Comptroller & Auditor General to the Cabinet tomorrow morning.

He also insisted that the document is not as explosive as some of the media coverage has suggested:

"It's a long report, it's a long report and people should reflect on it. Some of what's being said about it is incorrect. I mean, there's nothing in it that suggest there's anything illegal, anything improper, or any irregularities in the way that NAMA behaved.

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The BBC has lost its rights to broadcast The Great British Bake Off, as Channel 4 moves in to acquire the hugely popular BBC One show.

Producers signed a three-year deal with the broadcaster after they failed to come to an agreement with the BBC over a new contract.

Love Productions, the company behind the show, said negotiations with the BBC had been taking place for a year, with last-ditch talks on Monday coming to nothing.

The Channel 4 deal was signed yesterday evening. Its first programme, which will be a version of Celebrity Bake Off, will air in 2017.

A BBC spokesperson says they hope Love Productions will change their mind.