Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (81)

Thomas P. Broughan


81. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which his Department is addressing expenditure overruns in relation to the national broadband plan and the national children’s hospital in 2019 and over the coming years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39368/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

As the Deputy will recall, Further Revised Estimates were voted through the Dáil in February this year. The Further Revised Estimates were necessary as the Government recognised that the allocations set out in the Revised Estimates, published in December 2018, needed to be updated to reflect the materialising construction cost of the National Children’s Hospital. To that end, the Government decided that in relation to the 2019 allocations an additional €75 million capital expenditure allocation would be provided to the Department of Health to be met by reallocations from savings made in other sectors within the overall €7.3 billion capital allocation for 2019.

As set out in the Summer Economic Statement an expenditure reserve of up to €0.2 billion is to be established in 2020 to accommodate funding requirements liable to arise in connection with the National Broadband Plan and National Children’s Hospital. No decision has been made at this time regarding the specific allocation of this reserve as the funding of additional costs in relation to these projects will be considered as part of the Budget 2020 estimates process, reflecting the most up-to-date position relating to capital spending at the time. Beyond 2020, the Summer Economic Statement reflects the impact on the General Government Balance of additional expenditure in respect of the National Broadband Plan.

As I have previously indicated, I intend to provide the additional capital required to fund the National Broadband project from future revenues - this will be done in the context of updating the overall multi-annual capital ceilings set out in Project Ireland 2040. No other projects will be delayed or rescheduled, and no other changes will be made to the capital allocations for other projects as set out in the National Development Plan as a consequence of the Government’s decision to proceed with the National Broadband Plan.

As the Deputy will be aware, responsibility for individual projects rests with the relevant Departments. My Department, on the other hand, is responsible for monitoring expenditure allocations at Departmental level, so I can tell him that, up to the end of August, expenditure in 2019 is being managed for both the National Broadband Plan and the National Children’s Hospital in line with the allocations set out in the Further Revised Estimates.