Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Finance
Question 157: To ask the Minister for Finance if he will provide details, including timelines for the book of estimates and so on, of the budgetary process for 2012; if he will confirm the role to be played by him and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17493/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 156 and 157 together.
My Department will publish a pre-Budget Outlook in October of this year and, as is the norm, it is intended that Budget 2012 will be presented to the Dáil in early December, though the exact date has yet to be decided. Similarly, while the exact dates have not been set, the Revised Estimates Volume would normally be published in February 2012 and referred to the relevant Dáil Select Committees on the same date. The Estimates are then voted on by the House in June. In relation to 2011, the RevisedEstimates for Public Expenditure 2011 will be published shortly and will reflect the main changes following the re-organisation of Departmental responsibilities, the Jobs Initiative and minor administrative adjustments such as the introduction of civilian drivers for Ministers.
The Deputy will also be aware, of course, of the arrangements introduced this year under the new EU-semester, whereby the Stability Programme Update, containing revised macroeconomic and budgetary projections, was prepared and submitted to the European Commission last April. This document was also laid before the Dáil and published on the Department of Finance website. The purpose of these new arrangements is to allow for a more intensive period of peer review of other member-states' budgetary plans, thereby facilitating a greater degree of budgetary coordination across the EU, and they form part of a wider suite of fiscal governance reforms which are emerging at EU-level.
Finally, I, as the Minister for Finance, and Brendan Howlin, as the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, along with our respective Departments, will work very closely in the compilation of Budget 2012, as the expenditure estimates are obviously a key factor in devising budgetary policy and calculating the overall budgetary arithmetic.
Question 158: To ask the Minister for Finance if he has given consideration to the balance of spending cuts and tax increases to be introduced in budget 2012.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17494/11]
The overall fiscal adjustment for 2012 underpinning the Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support is €3.6 billion and this will be implemented through a combination of further reductions to public expenditure and additional revenue raising measures. The Stability Programme Update submitted to the European Commission in April forecasts the 2012 General Government deficit at 8.6% of GDP. Based on the macroeconomic and fiscal outlook at the time, this target is consistent with this level of fiscal adjustment and is within the terms of the revised Excessive Deficit Procedure recommendation issued by the ECOFIN Council last December.
As stated in the revised programme agreed with the EU/IMF in April 2011, the budgetary measures set out in the original agreement in December 2010 will be examined by the Government. Therefore the precise nature of the measures to be implemented in 2012 will be decided upon in advance of Budget 2012 in light of more up-to-date economic and fiscal data and the outcome of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, which is currently under way.