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Fiscal Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (242, 243)

John Lahart

Question:

242. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way major budgetary commitments in relation to Sláintecare fit into his plans for future public expenditure given Sláintecare costings have not been updated since 2017; the projected future costings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61902/21]

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John Lahart

Question:

243. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way budgetary commitments in relation to climate actions fit into his plans for future public expenditure given there is no estimate for the budgetary cost of implementing the climate action plan as indicated by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61903/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 242 and 243 together.

Budget 2022 followed the medium term expenditure strategy laid out in the Summer Economic Statement, which set a sustainable rate of growth for core expenditure in the period to 2025. This will see core expenditure grow each year by just over 5 per cent on average over the period to 2025, broadly in line with the trend growth rate of the economy. The average annual growth rate in current expenditure is just under 4¾ per cent with total capital spending, including that funded by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, growing by an annual average of over 8½ per cent.

This strategy sees an annual average of €3.2 billion being made available for increases in core current expenditure over the period 2022 to 2024. This includes a provision of 3% of the core current expenditure base in respect of existing level of service costs with the balance in funding being available for priority new current expenditure measures.

The increases in core capital spending, consistent with the amounts set out under the revised National Development Plan, will see increases ranging between €0.8 to €1.1 billion in the period from 2022 to 2024.

In looking at the Health expenditure, it is important to take into account the additional funding allocated in Budget 2021 and Budget 2022. Core current expenditure of €20.4 billion is provided in 2022 for the Department of Health, an increase of €2.9 billion compared to the amount set out in the pre-Covid Revised Estimates Volume for 2020. This has allowed for significant funding to be allocated to new measures including for additional staffing and capacity improvements, with Sláintecare measures being budgeted as part of the new measures allocation to the Department of Health.

As outlined, there are significant increases provided for capital investment. The revised National Development Plan set new five year rolling Departmental capital allocations and overall ten year capital ceilings out to 2030. The NDP sets out a total public investment of €165 billion over the period 2021 to 2030. Looking at the Government’s climate ambitions, extensive efforts have been made to ensure that the National Development Plan will support these ambitions.

The level of resources being set aside for core spending is significant - almost €93 billion in 2025 compared to just over €70 billion in 2020. This additional spending will provide for new expenditure measures, including for priorities such as Sláintecare and Climate Action, with allocations of the additional current funding being decided each year as part of the estimates process.

Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 242.
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