Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (359)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

359. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the carry-over of unspent capital from 2020 to 2021 approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for her Department; the Departmental subheads to which this applies; the amount in each case; the reason the capital was not spent in 2020; the steps being taken to ensure there will not be a similar underspend in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7729/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Further Revised Estimates for the Department of Rural and Community Development provided a gross capital allocation of €168.7 million for 2020. Provisional capital outturn amounted to €154.3 million, representing a saving of €15.4 million. €13.18 million of this has been carried over for use in 2021, ensuring that the funding is available to support projects this year. Table 1 below gives a breakdown of the subheads to which this amount applies.

The main reason for these savings was that the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary public health restrictions that were imposed across all sectors of society, including the construction industry, impacted on the progress of projects in 2020. This resulted in lower levels of capital spend in 2020 than originally anticipated.

My Department monitors the activity across all programme areas on an ongoing basis to ensure that maximum expenditure is achieved and that rural areas and our communities benefit from the investments provided through our programmes. This ongoing monitoring will continue during 2021 with a view to identifying, at the earliest opportunity, any potential issues which could impact on programme delivery and ensuring that available funding put to best use.

Capital expenditure by my Department has increased from €95.1m in 2018 to €137.9m in 2019 and up to €154.3m in 2020, demonstrating the strong growth in investment in rural and community development in recent years.

Table 1

Subhead

Amount of Capital carryover for 2021

A.7 Rural Regeneration & Development

€11.78m

A.8 Islands

€1.4m

Total

€13.18m