I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 127 together.
Budget 2021 provided for an overall expenditure ceiling of €87.8 billion. Of this funding, €75¾ billion was allocated to core expenditure programmes with €6½ billion allocated to Departments for measures related to Covid-19. In addition to this, €5.4 billion was set aside in reserve to ensure Government has the flexibility to respond to the evolving situation with the virus during the year with specific, targeted measures. These reserve funds bring the provision for measures to respond to Covid-19 this year to almost €12 billion. This allocation is in addition to the €16.8 billion allocated to counter the impacts of the virus in 2020.
All told, across 2020 and 2021, we will have provided over €28 billion for various Covid related spending programmes. This substantial additional funding is required as a result of the exceptional circumstances arising from the pandemic, with a focus on implementing measures to support our people and businesses experiencing extreme difficulties and on ensuring that our health service has the resources to respond to the crisis.
The fiscal forecasts contained in the recently published Stability Programme Update were compiled on a technical no-policy-change basis, with no additional funding allocated for the extension beyond this June of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme. However, the Government has committed to ensure that there will be no cliff edge end to these supports at the end of June. The extent of the demand for further funding in respect of Covid-19 measures will depend on the public health situation, the level of restrictions in place and further policy decisions regarding provision of supports reflecting the Government’s commitment to support society and the economy to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.