Written answers

Thursday, 13 July 2023

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Economic Policy

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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343. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for a breakdown of budgetary decisions, as outlined in Table 1 of the Summer Economic Statement, for the years 2024, 2025 and 2026, by, for example, Demographics, the NDP and public sector pay commitments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35216/23]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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Table 1 of the 2023 Summer Economic Statement sets out the budgetary strategy for the period to 2026. As part of the total budget package set out for each year from 2024 to 2026, amounts of €3.2 billion are indicated as for ‘budgetary decisions’. This category comprises provision for Existing Levels of Service (ELS) costs and the planned core capital expenditure increases under the National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP was published in October 2021. It provides a clear vision for Ireland's infrastructure investment over the next 10 years. This investment will support economic, social, environmental and cultural development across the country under Project Ireland 2040. Core capital increases in Budget 2024 will be in line with the parameters set out in the NDP, with an additional €0.9 billion next year.

ELS funding refers to this process of evaluating how much money is needed if there were no new policy decisions taken. As per the approach taken in recent years, a provision of approximately 3% of the core current expenditure base is being made for ELS costs.

While not representing new policy decisions, ELS is a significant part of the additional funding allocated each year and delivers additional investment in public services, through for example providing schemes to a growing number of people, and investment in the public sector workforce. It includes a variety of elements such as

  • the full year impact of previous year’s budget decisions;
  • funding for the provision of public services for our growing and changing population; and
  • investment in our public sector workforce under existing central public service pay deals.
This amount is an overall provision and the breakdown of this is not predetermined in advance of the estimates process each year. Each year the amount of funding that each Department needs in order to carry out their existing functions is assessed in advance of the Budget. This analysis considers a number of factors including actual demand in the current year compared to that underpinning the budgetary allocation, the potential changes in utilisation patterns, impact of demographics, as well as any capacity constraints that may exist.


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