Thursday, 18 April 2013

Questions (112, 113, 114, 119, 120, 121)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

112. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which the various targets set by his Department in respect of public expenditure throughout the public sector are in line with expectations and/or targets to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18175/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

113. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which cost-cutting targets set by his Department in respect of all areas of the public service remain in line with expectations to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18176/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

114. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which reform, savings, or cost cutting measures have respectively contributed in line with budgetary expectations in each of the past two years to date; the degree to which options in this regard remain open in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18177/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

119. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if, in the context of the current year in respect of public expenditure reform, the extent to which he expects each sector throughout the public service to be in a position to contribute to the overall objectives keeping in mind the on-going economic difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18182/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

120. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he expects to be in a position to monitor the effects of cost-cutting and savings with particular reference to the impact on individual public service at all levels in view of the impact of the on-going economic situation; if he sees any particular areas that might offer some relief in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18183/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

121. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform having regard to discussions with the Troika and/or his EU colleagues, the extent to which it is recognised that the achievements made by his Department and the Irish people are in line with expectations and have substantially impacted on the restructuring budgetary measures required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18184/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 to 114, inclusive, and 119 to 121, inclusive, together.

The Government is making good progress on achieving all of our targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government Programme. We are bringing public expenditure back to a sustainable level and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort.

As regards discussions with the Troika regarding the achievements made to date, there has been a series of meetings held with the Troika to appraise all the elements of the Programme covering fiscal developments, the macroeconomic outlook, progress on commitments regarding restructuring of the financial sector and structural reform. A substantial number of actions – over 200 taking into account Q1 2013 - have now been completed. Ireland’s continued strong implementation record has been recognised by our European Partners, by the IMF and by the financial markets despite the continuing deterioration of the international economy and the recent return to uncertainty. The Programme remains well financed and we have already started to regain market access as envisaged with a number of successful initiatives this year. As we have said repeatedly, the Government remains focused on achieving our commitments as set under the EU/IMF programme, including the fiscal targets.

With regard to cost cutting measures, the Government began its process of medium-term expenditure management with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) exercise in 2011, which was carried out by all Departments to identify ways of reducing expenditure, in line with commitments under the Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland. Ministerial expenditure ceilings for 2012 - 2014 were introduced in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report, published in December 2011, which were set in line with consolidation targets over the medium term. The arrangements for these three-year ceilings will be put onto a statutory footing following the enactment of the Ministers & Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2012 later this year.

While good progress has been made on delivering savings and implementing change, it remains a matter for each Minister and their Departments to ensure that the Vote-level allocations are adhered to and at the same time ensure that they continue to provide essential services and respond to increasing demands.

The annual detail Revised Estimates Volume (REV) 2013 sets out details of the financial allocations for each Department and, as part of our expenditure reform initiative, it also contains performance information on the key outputs and outcomes being delivered by Departments through the use of public funds. This information has been built into the heart of the budgetary documentation. Through performance budgeting, Dail Committees will in future know what public service outputs and outcomes are being delivered with public funds and this can inform their work and discussion.

The REV 2013 (published yesterday) shows, for each key area of Government spend, output and performance information for 2012 and targets for 2013.