Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Pre-Budget 2022 Scrutiny: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Dr. Eddie Casey:

I love exams. Basically, where we adjusted the forecast was in regard to the extent of temporary Covid-related spending that we saw continuing into next year. In this recovery scenario, there is an assumption that we do not really need the same level of health spending on an emergency basis linked specifically to Covid. We might need other health spending related to, say, deferred treatments and things like that but, specifically related to Covid, it assumes those things would not materialise. Then, also related to other things like additional unemployment spending and additional expenditure on pandemic unemployment payments and the employment wage subsidy scheme, those types of things would have been much lower. A final thing was the buffers allocated to various Departments just in case there was a need for additional Covid spending there. If we look at the figures that were included for 2022, in the official projections there were lots of buffers included, right across the board, just in case a Department happened to again need additional funding to meet various stresses related to Covid. Our assumption for the recovery scenario was that a lot of this money would not really be necessary if the economy was to be basically opened up towards the end of this year and to continue without any further reintroduction of restrictions, or the like.


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