As ever, it is an honour to be here. The Appropriation Bill 2021 is an essential element of financial housekeeping that must be concluded by both Houses of the Oireachtas before the end of this year. The Bill serves two primary purposes. First, the Appropriation Bill is necessary to authorise in law all of the expenditure that has been undertaken in 2021 on the basis of the Estimates that have been voted on by the Dáil during the year.
Section 1 and Schedule 1 set out the amounts to be appropriated for supply services. These relate to the amounts included in the Revised Estimates for 2021 voted by the Dáil earlier this year, further Revised Estimates and all Supplementary Estimates voted by the Dáil this year. In aggregate, these Estimates amount to nearly €73.1 billion. This represents a significant investment to support the delivery of essential public services and to provide for the necessary infrastructure to support economic, social, environmental and cultural development.
These Estimates also reflect the continued significant expenditure on measures to respond to Covid-19, with almost €13.5 billion in gross expenditure when including expenditure on the Social Insurance Fund and the national training fund, made available to Departments in 2021. This figure has allowed Government to continue critically important expenditure measures introduced in 2020 that were required to support our economy, enterprises and households from the unprecedented shock of Covid-19 and to provide the necessary funding to our health service to respond to the pandemic.
A further key purpose of the Appropriation Bill is to provide a legal basis for spending to continue into 2022. The passage of the Appropriation Bill 2021 allows continued funding, in the period before the 2022 Estimates are approved, of social welfare payments from the social protection Vote, Exchequer pay and pensions and other voted expenditure. If the Bill were not enacted before the end of December, there would be no authority to spend any voted moneys in 2022 from the start of January until approval of the 2022 Estimates, since this authority for 2022, as contained in the Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Act 1965, is based on the amounts provided for in the Appropriation Bill 2021.
Under the rolling multi-annual capital envelopes introduced in budget 2004, Departments may carry over, from the current year to the following year, unspent capital up to a maximum of 10% of voted capital. The multi-annual system is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the management by Departments and agencies of capital programmes and projects. It recognises the difficulties inherent in the planning and profiling of capital expenditure and acknowledges that capital projects may be subject to delays. The carryover facility allows for a portion of unspent moneys, which would have been lost to the capital programmes and projects concerned under the annual system of allocating capital, to be made available for spending on programme priorities in the subsequent year.
The Appropriation Act determines, definitively, the capital amounts which may be carried over to the following year. The aggregate amount of proposed capital carryover from 2021 into 2022 is €820.1 million, which represents 7.8% of the total Exchequer capital programme of over €10.5 billion for 2021. This level of capital carryover, as with the carryover to 2021 from 2020, reflects the impact of the construction closures due to Covid-19 which affected the spending plans of Departments.
The proposed amounts to be carried over by Vote are set out in Schedule 2 to the Bill. The 2022 Revised Estimates Volume sets out detailed financial and key performance indicators for Departments and offices. In Part 2 of the Estimates, for each Vote availing of the capital carryover facility, a table is included listing the amounts to be deferred by subhead. In line with last year, section 3 of the Appropriation Bill includes a specific provision to allow for an advance from the Central Fund to the Paymaster General's supply account, with this advance then being repaid to the Central Fund in January. The amount included this year is up to €292 million.
The need for this provision arises as certain Exchequer liabilities and social welfare payments are due for payment by electronic funds transfer on 1 and 4 January 2022. With the banking system closed on 1 January, funding will need to be in place in departmental bank accounts before the end of this year to meet those liabilities on a timely basis. In addition, An Post needs to be pre-funded before the end of the 2021 in order to physically transfer cash to its network of post offices throughout the country. These Exchequer pay and pension and social welfare payments form part of the supply services for 2022 and these costs will come under moneys voted in 2022, in respect of which the usual processes and mechanisms for voted moneys will apply.
The signed Act is required by the Comptroller and Auditor General for clearance of the end-year issues from the Exchequer. Under Article 25.2.1° of the Constitution, the President may not sign a Bill earlier than the fifth day after the date on which the Bill is presented to him. However, there is provision in Article 25.2.2° whereby, at the request of the Government, with the prior concurrence of Seanad Éireann, the President may sign a Bill on an earlier date than the fifth day mentioned. In view of the urgency of this Bill, the provision in Article 25.2.2° is sought, and a motion to this effect is placed before the Seanad. Such an earlier signature motion has also been sought for the Appropriation Bill in previous years.
The Appropriation Bill is an essential element of housekeeping which those of us in both Houses of the Oireachtas are required to undertake. The passing of the Bill will authorise in law all of the expenditure that has been undertaken in 2021 on the basis of the Estimates voted on by the Dáil during the year. Of fundamental importance to those that depend on our essential public services, the passage of the Bill will also ensure that payments funded from voted expenditure in 2021 can continue to be funded in 2022 in the period before the Dáil approves the 2022 Estimates. I commend this Bill to the House.