I thank the committee for the opportunity to speak this morning. As the Chairman outlined, I am accompanied by the Minister of State, Deputy Josepha Madigan, who has responsibility for special education and inclusion, and officials from my Department. I am conscious that I have only five minutes to deliver my opening statement. I will, therefore, give a very brief overview of the Further Revised Estimates for my Department for 2020.
The Further Revised Estimates for 2020 reflect three matters in particular. They provide for the restructuring of Vote 26 to move subheads and related funding to the new Vote for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. They also include substantial additional funding to meet costs associated with the reopening of schools and sustaining teaching and learning as part of the Covid-19 response. They also include a provision to meet other expenditure pressures on the Vote.
The Revised Estimates for the entirety of Vote 26 were approved by Dáil Éireann on 16 July last. Since then, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science has been established and a range of statutory functions transferred to it from what was the Department of Education and Skills. As part of the Revised Estimates process, a new Vote is being created for the new Department - Vote 45. In simple terms, two of the three programmes which comprised Vote 26, namely, programme B, skills development, and programme C, higher education, are being transferred out of Vote 26 with a total of €2.332 billion in funds being transferred to the Vote of the new Department. Some functions remain to be transferred to the new Department and, therefore, some funding is being retained in Vote 26 for 2020 pending finalisation of that transfer. These will be reflected in the 2021 allocations.
The Further Revised Estimate for Vote 26 before the committee comprises several elements. The original allocation of €8.237 billion was to meet the various requirements of the Department in the areas of first level, second level and early years education, including a significant capital allocation of €745 million to support the school building programme. An additional allocation of €331 million, including an additional capital allocation of €180 million, is to support and sustain the reopening of our schools in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. A net additional allocation of €142 million is to meet additional costs in areas such as payroll, pensions and temporary school accommodation. This additional allocation requirement has been offset somewhat by savings arising from the cancellation of the State examinations in 2020.
A high level of uncertainty remains over the level of funding required for the remainder of 2020 due to unpredictability, as Deputies will appreciate, of the ongoing health crisis and the impacts it has on the running of our schools. Therefore, a prudent approach has been taken in estimating the 2020 additional allocations to ensure sufficient financial supports are available for schools, if required. It is important to note in this context that any unspent contingency funding will be surrendered back to the Exchequer after the year end in the normal manner as part of the annual Estimates process.
These Estimates were drawn up in late 2019 as part of the 2020 budget process. Much has changed since then. A significant proportion of remaining Vote 26 funds are expended on gross pay and pensions, with sums of almost €6.6 billion included in the Vote for these purposes. This represented some 81% of the expenditure allocation. Some 89,000 public servants and 42,000 public servant pensioners are paid out of these funds. Other significant expenditure areas include capital infrastructure, grants to State agencies, school transport and capitation grants to schools. The additional allocation in 2020 was aimed at delivering a range of measures in the education system that I outlined as part of the approval of the original 2020 Revised Estimates in July. Given the time constraints, I do not propose to go through the specific measures. I will, however, address the issue of Covid-19.
We are all well aware of the impact that Covid has had on our schools, especially students. To say it has been a challenging time for all concerned would be an understatement. I express again my gratitude to all involved in ensuring the safe and sustained reopening of our schools. As members will be aware, the Government in late July approved a funding package of €437 million as part of the roadmap for the full reopening of schools. Funding was made available to sustain school reopening and for the replacement of teachers and non-teaching staff unable to attend work due to Covid-19, additional release days for principals and deputy principals and enhanced cleaning regimes and personal protective equipment, PPE, in the current school year.
Funding was also included for the continuation of additional educational psychological services to provide for well-being supports for students and additional Covid-19 supports for the transport of pupils in the school transport scheme.
Some €211 million of the package is included in the 2020 Estimates, with the balance being included in the 2021 Estimates, as announced on budget day. Members will recall that it was necessary to implement current public health recommendations for reduced capacity on school transport for post-primary students. These recommendations have led to further additional costs, and an allocation of €15 million is now included in 2020 for this purpose.
I am particularly pleased that a significant additional capital allocation was provided for as part of the Covid response. A €75 million allocation was provided for as part of the July stimulus package to assist with the reopening of schools. It is part of the initial financial supports included in the roadmap for the full reopening of schools. An additional €105 million of capital has now been allocated. This €105 million in additional funding consists of €80 million in capital funding announced in budget 2021 as an additional allocation for expenditure in 2020, and now a further €25 million has been allocated for 2020 to provide further financial assistance in sustaining the operation of post-primary schools.
This additional €105 million will facilitate the bringing forward of the ICT grant and minor works grant to primary schools, planned for 2021, and the delivery of projects. It will also allow for an exceptional minor works grant payment to post-primary schools.
Early payment of the ICT grant is particularly important in the context of supporting schools during the Covid-19 pandemic. The €50 million in funding can be prioritised to ensure all schools are in a position to support remote learning should it be necessary for a class or group to isolate for a limited period.
The minor works grant funding of €30 million allocated for primary schools and an exceptional minor works grant payment of €25 million for post-primary schools provides good flexibility at local level to assist schools managing in the Covid environment and to put more sustainable arrangements in place. The payment of the grants at this stage gives schools a good lead-in period to plan and undertake works that support the operation of the school in the current school year and assist in catering for requirements going into the 2021-22 school year. The minor works grant will be paid automatically to schools in the free scheme and on an application basis to fee-charging schools on a case-by-case basis.
I trust that this overview is of assistance to the committee. I am happy to discuss these issues in more detail, and I commend the further Revised Estimate to the committee.