Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (62)

Martin Ferris


62. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his Department carried out any impact assessments in the run up to budget 2014 to ascertain the possible social consequences of spending changes proposed, factoring in the overall economic cost in dealing with such consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44838/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Abridged Estimate for my Department, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Expenditure Report 2014, provides €766 million in respect of the programmes and services for which my Department is responsible. These resources are supplemented by €240 million in Exchequer equity investment in Irish Water to fund the water and wastewater capital programme, a further €50 million announced in the Budget to fund infrastructural investment primarily in the housing area, and other resources available from the Local Government and Environment Funds.

The process of framing Budget 2014 involved making difficult choices given the overriding need to make the fiscal adjustments required to support exit from the EU-IMF Programme. The resource allocation assessment and decision-making processes in my Department aimed to ensure that the available resources were allocated in the fairest way possible, while at the same time making the maximum contribution to job creation and economic recovery. Key programmes with significant social impact have been protected to the greatest extent possible. For example, in 2014 there is funding of €79m for Housing Regeneration; €48m for the Local and Community Development Programme; €45m for homeless accommodation; and €2m for employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.