Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 28 May, 2003
Written Answers. - Fiscal Policy.
Mr. Coveney Mr. Coveney
57. Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Finance the actions which he will introduce as part of the promised anti-inflation package. [14567/03]
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Bringing the rate of inflation down towards that of our EU partners is a priority for the Government. This must be done in order to safeguard our competitiveness and avoid losing jobs. That is why the Government made the commitments in Sustaining Progress to work together with the social partners to exert downward pressure on inflation. The anti-inflation initiative is part of this process and the Government agreed that proposals for action would be co-ordinated by a specially convened group.
I look forward to the anti-inflation initiative group's report which is due to be produced by the end of the summer. I am confident that, working together in partnership, we will address the issue of domestic price pressures in the Irish economy to bring inflation down. In this context, the implementation of the moderate pay arrangements set out under Sustaining Progress is also vital.
I am also of the view that keeping public expenditure on target will be important if our inflation rate is to moderate and I have put in place management and control mechanisms to ensure this.
Mr. Allen Mr. Allen
58. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Finance the spending pressures which are emerging in departmental spending patterns in 2003. [14562/03]
Mr. J. O'Keeffe Mr. J. O'Keeffe
67. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance if further cutbacks or new taxes are now proposed or under consideration. [14708/03]
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
145. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if each Department is on target in regard to its spending programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14938/03]
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 58, 67 and 145 together.
Under the Revised Estimates Volume total voted spending in 2003 is projected to rise by some 6.7% over 2002.
At end April, the year on year increase in net voted spending was 8.2% against the planned REV increase of 6.7% for the year as a whole. Cumulative spending at end April was some €500 million less than that profiled by Departments at the beginning of the year. This trend in spending is primarily due to timing factors and does not indicate savings for the year as a whole. A breakdown of spending to end April by ministerial Vote group as compared to the profile is available for circulation to the House.
Some spending pressures are emerging particularly in the larger spending Departments such as Health and Children, Social and Family Affairs, Education and Science and Justice, Equality and Law Reform. There are also some pay pressures emerging arising from the settlement of an outstanding equality case affecting some Civil Service clerical workers and the parallel benchmarking process in relation to craft workers, non-nursing and general operative grades. While it is the responsibility of each Minister to manage pressures in relation to his or her own Department, a mid-year review of the overall spending position is a normal feature of the management of aggregate public expenditure by the Government.
The position in relation to taxation will be considered in the context of the emerging budgetary situation and tax changes, if any, will be announced as usual in the budget statement in December next.
Dáil Éireann 567 Written Answers. Fiscal Policy.