I propose to take Questions Nos. 74, 75, 77, 79, 80 and 82 together.
Managing the delivery of public services within the Departmental Budgetary allocation is a key responsibility of each Minister and Department, and several measures are in place to help ensure that these budgetary targets continue to be met. My Department is in regular communication with all Departments and Offices to ensure that expenditure is being controlled and we monitor their drawdown of funds from the Exchequer against the published expenditure profiles.
In relation to the previous year's performance, the end-December Exchequer returns outlined that voted expenditure was well within budget for 2013. Overall net voted expenditure of €43.1 billion was €0.3 billion below the budget profile for 2013. Any overruns in individual Departments were more than offset by savings in other Departments.
The expenditure position up to the end of May this year is that total gross expenditure of just under €21.7 billion is 0.6% (€140 million) below profile. The Government is committed to ensuring that our fiscal targets for 2014 are achieved, and in this regard my Department meets regularly with line Departments to review financial management with regular reporting to Government on these matters.
Following on from Ireland's successful exit from the Troika programme in December last year, the Government's fiscal target for 2015 is to bring the General Government Deficit below 3% of GDP, in line with our commitments under the Excessive Deficit Procedure.
The Comprehensive Review of Expenditure and the Review of Capital Expenditure that are currently in progress will inform discussions in relation to Budget 2015, including Government decisions on the expenditure ceilings for the years ahead, and will underpin decisions on the specific expenditure measures required to meet our fiscal targets for 2015. Decisions on the Budget will be informed by the up-to-date economic and fiscal outlook at that time.
The ongoing delivery of expenditure savings requires a robust public expenditure framework. The new Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was first introduced in 2011 and provides for a more effective examination of public expenditure. The new framework takes account of the experience of a number of other OECD countries who also implemented a MTEF in recent years. Part III of the Expenditure Report 2014 sets Ireland's public expenditure framework in the context of the international experience, drawing on a number of OECD research papers. On the reform front, the Public Service Reform Plan (PSRP) 2014-2016 was published in January this year. The development of the plan was led and coordinated by the Reform and Delivery Office in my Department, in collaboration and consultation with key stakeholders across the Public Service. The plan is also informed by best practice in the Public Service in other jurisdictions and in the private sector, where appropriate.