Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (122, 150)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

122. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his projections for public spending in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26685/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

150. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is planning increased supports for sectors that have been especially badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26713/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 122 and 150 together.

Budgetary policy has responded quickly in order to counter the worst effects of the pandemic. It is estimated that approximately €16 billion will be provided over the course of the year to respond to Covid-19 across a wide range of sectors, including;

- the additional funding provided for labour market supports that will bring Social Protection expenditure to over €30 billion for the year;

- €2 billion voted by the Dáil for the Health sector, with further expenditure to be allocated by way of Supplementary Estimate that will help deliver the winter plan and meet further costs in relation to PPE;

- additional Exchequer funding of €1.5 billion provided to support businesses including through restart grants, liquidity measures and commercial rates waivers; and

- the significant resources allocated to support the reopening of schools and the return to higher and further education.

Looking at the position at the end of August, gross voted expenditure was €10 billion or 24% ahead of the same period in 2019. The main drivers of this increase are in the areas of Social Protection, Health and business supports, and is reflective of the additional Covid-19 related expenditure introduced by Government to date. All told, it is currently estimated that gross voted expenditure for 2020 will be over €86 billion, an increase of over €19 billion or almost 30% relative to the outturn last year.

In relation to Budget 2021, which is now just weeks away, as per the Programme for Government, the sectoral priorities for this Government will primarily be concerned with addressing issues in the key sectors of health, housing and climate change. Further to this, assessing the appropriate Covid-19 measures for next year will also form a key part of the Estimates process. Ensuring that our existing services also continue to be delivered to citizens efficiently and effectively will also be a key consideration, particularly as we continue with reopening our society and turn our attention towards economic recovery. Further details will be set out in detail in the 2021 Expenditure Report on Budget day.