The April Stability Programme update set out the consolidation path for 2014 and 2015 (Table 2 page 6), consistent with Budget 2013, showing the composition of revenue and expenditure measures. The general government balance (Table 8 page 22) was forecast using the technical assumption that the benefits of the promissory note restructuring would be used for deficit reduction. The exact quantum and composition of adjustment in 2014 will be considered in the context of Budget 2014 discussions later this year. As has been discussed previously, the additional fiscal space by the promissory note restructuring will be central to these discussions with consideration to the latest economic and fiscal information. The Department of Finance has recently presented the Budget Strategy Memorandum to Cabinet. This is part of the normal budgetary process and gives an outline of the emerging fiscal and economic outlook for this year and next. This is a confidential document and is not published.
I would like to reiterate that the Government remains committed to reducing the deficit below 3 per cent of GDP by 2015 and all budgetary decisions will be made with this overarching objective in mind.