Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (30, 96)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

30. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements have to date achieved their targets; when he expects the benefit of such savings to manifest themselves by way of economic growth and improved employment prospects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42439/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

96. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that the combined benefits of the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements will be adequate in terms of delivery of the objectives set; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42742/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 96 together.

It is clear that the Public Service Agreement or ‘Croke Park Agreement’ has delivered on its objectives. In this context, I would highlight the final report of the Implementation Body, which concluded that the Croke Park Agreement delivered significant cost savings amounting to €1.8 billion over its lifetime. The Agreement also ensured the delivery of central reforms while acting as a facilitator for a large number of reforms at sectoral level, across all sectors of the Public Service, in a climate of industrial peace. The report also concluded that the overwhelming majority of commitments around cost extraction, reform and changed work practices had been substantially delivered.

The Haddington Road Agreement sets out the basis for the contribution of a further €1 billion by the public service pay and pensions bill to our fiscal recovery, which would not have been possible under the framework of the Croke Park Agreement. The €1 billion reduction in the public service pay and pensions bill is critical to ensuring that we deliver on our targets for fiscal consolidation.

The Agreement has already started to deliver on its objectives. Approximately €300 million in savings arising from the Agreement were incorporated into the Revised Estimates for 2013. Since 1 July, a number of changes in work practices and reforms have been implemented. In addition public servants are working longer hours which will result in the provision of a total of 15 million additional working hours across all sectors of the Public Service.

The additional working hours by public servants will help us to deliver long term and sustainable increases in productivity by reducing the requirement for paid overtime hours and agency costs, thereby leading to direct cash savings; and allowing management to maintain services against the backdrop of decreasing staff numbers.

The various reforms under the Agreement will allow us to implement long term sustainable change with a view to delivering a more efficient and effective modern Public Service capable of delivering high quality services to the citizens of this country.