Managing the delivery of public services within budgetary allocations is a key responsibility of every Department and Minister. My Department is in regular contact with all other Departments and Offices to ensure that expenditure is being managed within the overall fiscal parameters.
The drawdown of funds from the Exchequer is reported on each month against expenditure profiles in the Fiscal Monitor published by the Department of Finance. As outlined in the Fiscal Monitor, at the end of May, overall gross voted expenditure of €26 billion was €145 million (0.6 per cent) behind profile but up by 8.2 per cent in year-on-year terms, with a key element of the year-on-year increase being expenditure in the Health sector.
Gross voted health expenditure at the end of May is €35m (0.5%) behind profile, however this expenditure of almost €7.1bn represents a 10% increase on the same period in 2018. This annual rate of expenditure, if it were to continue for the full year, would represent a significant risk in terms of expenditure management.
Given the priority placed on achieving the fiscal targets for 2019 and 2020 outlined in the Stability Programme Update, a key consideration is the impact of any additional expenditure on the overall fiscal position. Any increase in expenditure in one sector, unless offset by expenditure underspends elsewhere, either voted or non-voted, or additional revenues, would result in a deterioration in the general government surplus from a projected 0.2 per cent of GDP this year and 0.4 per cent of GDP next year.