Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Ceisteanna (90)

Micheál Martin


90. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he and his officials have received the most recent Irish Fiscal Advisory Council report with its comments on a disorderly Brexit. [37689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I can confirm that I have received a copy of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council’s Pre-Budget 2020 Statement, as published on Wednesday, 11th September. I have reviewed the Statement, along with my officials, and would make the following observations.

Firstly, I would welcome the Council’s assessment that Government revenues continue to perform well this year to date. With tax receipts to end-August in line with expectations and showing year-on-year growth of 8.1%, it looks likely that our Budget 2019 target of €57.9 billion will be achieved.

I also note the Council’s concerns around a ‘hard Brexit’ and in line with this view, last week I secured Government agreement to base Budget 2020 on this same assumption, that of a no-deal Brexit. In fact, given the uncertainty and lack of clarity regarding the timing and format that the U.K.’s exit will take, preparing for a no-deal scenario is the most sensible approach. This, I believe, will help us to ensure that we safeguard our recent hard won progress in stabilising the public finances.

In addition, it is important that we avoid a situation whereby decisions are made this year that may need to be reversed in the future. By assuming a ‘no-deal Brexit’, we can ensure that the Government has the necessary resources at its disposal to meet the impact of this exceptional challenge; whilst also preserving the longer-term sustainability of the public finances.

Finally, it is important to give certainty to businesses and citizens that the Government is prepared for a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and stands ready to support the economy in such a scenario.

Indeed, by continuing to balance our books, reduce our debt burden and build up the Rainy Day Fund, we are improving our resilience to the risks posed by Brexit and other risks that a small open economy such as ours faces.