The Estimate provision for my Department in 2014 will amount to €449 million which consists of €414 million in current expenditure and €35 million in capital expenditure. The allocation represents an increase in net expenditure of almost €15 million or 3% over the 2013 resource provision. This level of funding is especially significant when account is taken of the €9 million in savings which are built-in as a result of commitments made in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012 – 2014. These savings are being achieved, to the greatest extent possible, through increased operating efficiencies and value for money to protect front line services.
I consider that my Department`s Budget allocation for 2014 will enable the delivery of a significant level of public services, as well a number of new policy measures which include additional funding to support the programme of reform for child welfare and protection services that will be implemented by the new Child and Family Agency which is due to be established in January 2014; delivery of a Preschool Quality Agenda which seeks to support high standards through supporting the efforts of providers and their staff in delivering improved and more reliable quality; and to respond to concerns raised by parents; additional investment to address child poverty through the Area Based Childhood (ABC) programme - a joint initiative between my Department and Atlantic Philanthropies to improve outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities.