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Summer Economic Statement: Statements (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: We had two hours of debate in committee.

Summer Economic Statement: Statements (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: This debate provides an important opportunity to consider the Government’s fiscal strategy for budget 2023, as set out in the summer economic statement. This morning I was glad to have the opportunity, alongside the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, to engage with colleagues at a meeting of the Committee on Budgetary Oversight. The meeting gave us a good opportunity to tease out...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Public Sector Pay (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: I propose to take Questions Nos. 313 and 314 together. The Summer Economic Statement (SES), published on 4th July 2022, sets out the key parameters for Budget 2023. This included a total expenditure budget package of €5.7 billion over 2022 and 2023, €0.4 billion of which is phased into 2022. This is an increase of €1.7 billion relative to what was originally provided...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Summer Economic Statement (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: Under the approach set out in last year’s Summer Economic Statement, 3% of the core current expenditure base is being set aside each year to meet Existing Levels of Service or ELS costs. These include costs arising from demographic pressures in areas such as Social Protection, Health and Education as well as the carryover costs from measures already introduced in prior year Budgets and...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Health Services (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: This is a matter in the first instance for the Minister for Health. The Department of Health will reply separately to provide clarification on this issue.

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Departmental Funding (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: Budget 2022 made provision for up to €7.5 billion in funding to continue our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and for the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. Following the Revised Estimates in December 2021, €3.9 billion of this funding remained unallocated. This contingency is held in reserve centrally to allow Government flexibility to respond to emerging needs during the year. In...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Pension Provisions (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: This Department would not have the information readily to hand about the number of staff to whom abatement has been applied. We can follow up with the deputy’s office to confirm the information required and revert directly to the Deputy.

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Pension Provisions (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: The Deputy has asked about the number of exemptions from pension abatement applied for and issued across all Departments under the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 (“the 2012 Act”). This Department can provide information about the waivers sought and granted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) in accordance with the...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Pension Provisions (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: There have been no legal challenges to date in respect of the application of Section 52 of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 in which the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has been a respondent.

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Legislative Measures (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: I propose to take Questions Nos. 325 to 329, inclusive, together. I am not in a position to comment on individual cases before the courts. The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2022 provides for a significant overhaul of the framework of legal protections for whistleblowers provided by the Protected Disclosures Act 2014. It also provides for the transposition of Directive (EU)...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Budget Targets (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: Departmental expenditure management is predominantly undertaken through the cash-based Exchequer system and comprises of Voted Exchequer expenditure and spend from key funds: the Social Insurance Fund and the National Training Fund. This expenditure is defined as the Government Expenditure Ceiling in the Minister’s and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2012 as the sum of expenditure which...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Public Sector Staff (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: The rules governing transfer of service in pre-existing schemes are primarily set out in Department of Finance Letter to Personnel Officers 24 April 1979 ‘Draft Transfer Scheme’ and Letter to Personnel Officers 30 January 1981. That scheme has its origins in section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963, which, in short, provides that a person who is employed in a...

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: Good morning. I thank the Chair and members of the committee for the invitation to be here today alongside the Minister, Deputy Donohoe. The summer economic statement is a key milestone in our annual budgetary timetable. It sets out the Government’s fiscal and expenditure strategy for the year ahead and provides an outline of the resources that will be available in the context of...

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: It is a rule, which we adopted last year, to provide some certainty regarding the provision for ELS, which the Deputy will know comprises a number of elements, pre-existing commitments, demographic pressures, other pressures, known public service pay commitments and so on. Last year, the actual requirement, when the numbers were finally run, ended up being less than that and was closer to...

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: That is the assessment at this time.

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: We do not believe so. As we have said, we are seeking to agree a new public service pay deal and I have been clear in reply to parliamentary questions, announcements, etc. that the cost of a new deal and any additional commitments beyond Building Momentum will have to come out of the overall package of around €2.7 billion. So that point is accepted. Obviously one must consider, as...

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: There is no agreement at this point so there is no basis for answering the question. We hope to re-engage and there are ongoing contacts with the Workplace Relations Commission. It will advise us of its opinion as to whether there is a basis to re-engage formally. This is certainly our objective. Securing an agreement would help to bring industrial peace and give certainty about...

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: I will not get into the detail of where the negotiations finished off-----

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: -----or where they might end up.

Committee on Budgetary Oversight: Summer Economic Statement 2022: Discussion (14 Jul 2022)

Michael McGrath: The figures he mentioned would be across a number of years and would not all be in the current year. Next year, as the Deputy acknowledged, there will be a spillover effect into 2024 when the full effect of any changes-----

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