Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (12, 16)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

12. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he expects the targets laid down by the troika to be achieved by the end of the current year; if, in this context, he anticipates the possibility of using the principle of enhanced economic growth as a means of meeting the ongoing budgetary targets; if this is an option to prevent further cuts and is likely to be of greater benefit to the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23670/14]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

16. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he expects reductions in public expenditure, increased economic growth and-or reform to feature in 2015 while at the same time meeting the targets laid down by the troika; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23671/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12 and 16 together.

While Ireland is no longer in a Troika programme following our successful programme exit in December 2013, we are still subject to the fiscal deficit ceilings for Ireland as set out in the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP).  The Government's overall fiscal target is to reduce the General Government Deficit to 4.8% for 2014 and to bring it below 3% by end 2015. 

The Expenditure Report published on Budget Day, 15 October 2013, set out a series of expenditure measures agreed by Government that need to be implemented in order to meet our fiscal targets in 2014. All Ministers and their Departments are aware of the necessity to ensure that the expenditure savings required to meet these targets are delivered.  The total voted gross expenditure ceiling for 2014 is €53 billion; this is split €49.7 billion current and €3.3 billion capital.  The new control measures introduced in 2013 to enhance the Medium Term Expenditure Framework will assist with ensuring that Departmental expenditure targets are met.

The Expenditure Report 2014 also set out Gross Voted Current and Gross Voted Capital expenditure ceilings for 2015 that will help to ensure that we achieve our deficit target of 2.9% by the end of 2015.  The second Comprehensive Review of Expenditure is now underway.  This will be a focused examination of expenditure by all Departments, taking account of Government spending priorities, in order to identify areas of potential savings and efficiencies.  The Departmental reviews will inform Government decisions and will help underpin the basis of the multi-annual expenditure ceilings that will be published as part of the Expenditure Report 2015.  The exact expenditure measures required to meet these targets will be agreed by Government in the context of Budget 2015 taking into account macroeconomic developments.