Tag Archives: Public Expenditure

DÁIL PQs WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC EXPENDITURE ON BREXIT

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of expenditure set aside in budget 2019 for the additional costs of Brexit preparations; if supplementary funding may be needed in this regard; the cost to date of Brexit preparations for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and for all other Departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17776/19]

We have had the Brexit contingency action plan since last December with sectoral analysis and the various costs of mitigation throughout the Government. What other plans has the Minister made in this regard, in particular with regard to Revenue and all other areas where Brexit is already impacting? The uncertainty has been extended to 31 October. At any time we could be dealing with a disorderly Brexit. Are there revised plans?

DÁIL SPEECH ON REVISED ESTIMATES

The introduction to the Revised Estimates mentions that they “have been supplemented with key performance information regarding programme outputs and impacts”. We were also promised that information on key performance indicators would be provided in the 2019 HSE service plan and that a number of post-budget technical and policy adjustments would be included in the Revised Estimates. However, if we examine the expenditure of €66.6 billion in 42 Votes, while there is some useful information on the delivery of spending programmes, we will see the performance metrics for each Vote give little insight into the achievement of the strategy being pursued by each Department of State. That is particularly true for the €52.3 billion or 78% of total Government spending provided for in four key areas – Department of Education and Skills, Vote 26; the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Vote 34; the Department of Health, Vote 38; and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Vote 37.

DÁIL SPEECH ON REPORT ON PPPs AND CARILLION

I warmly commend the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on the production of a valuable report on the use of PPPs for public sector infrastructure projects. I thank the Chairman of the joint committee, Deputy McGuinness, and the committee secretariat for producing this report, which is particularly timely in the context of the liquidation of the Carillion group. The collapse of Carillion has significantly delayed the delivery of the PPP contract known as schools bundle 5 right up to the present. It raises profound questions about the continued use of the whole PPP process, which has tied the State into a system of large annual payments to PPP contractors until the 2050s or 2060s. The informative report before the House may be considered alongside the House of Commons report on Carillion, which is a devastating indictment of the PPP approach. We copied this approach from the UK Government, which refers to it as the private finance initiative, PFI.

DÁIL SPEECH ON THE FURTHER REVISED ESTIMATES

The budget we approved last October included €7.3 billion of capital expenditure, as the Minister noted. The allocation for capital spending since then has shown a welcome return to investment in public infrastructure. For nearly a decade since 2008, the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments kept capital spending below the 2% depreciation rate, which was an utterly disgraceful policy.

DÁIL PQ ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME WITH DPER

The Minister, Deputy Donohoe, might remember a few months ago I asked him about procurement systems from the Department. We had been talking about the chief procurement officer in earlier questions. I note that in the previous Government, in May 2014, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board recommended a derogation, in other words, a different two-stage approach to procurement. This is the context.

There is a budget oversight unit in the Department and there seems to have been a formal approach about that to the effect that there would have to be a two-stage procurement process.

DÁIL PQ WITH MINISTER DONOHOE ON DEPARTMENTAL PROFILES

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on his departmental spending profiles up to the end of September 2018 in gross voted capital expenditure under Budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43864/18]

I wish to ask the Minister about the gross Votes. Several Deputies noted that spending was under profile, particularly the Votes for housing and environment. That was certainly evident in the last report the Minister gave us. It seems incongruous that capital expenditure is running under profile in areas like housing and health. I welcome the size of the capital budget and that we are beginning at long last to address deficient infrastructure.

DÁIL SPEECH ON SUMMER ECONOMIC STATEMENTS

I am grateful for the brief opportunity to comment on the summer economic statement. Last weekend there were reports that Fine Gael was trying out various general election slogans, such as Let Leo Lead On, based on the Seán Lemass slogan of the 1960s, but listening to the bluster and barefaced attempts this morning by the Taoiseach to rewrite history in response to Deputy Pearse Doherty’s question on this document, a more appropriate slogan might be You Just Can’t Believe Leo, or something more illiterate in that regard. The Taoiseach, of course, ignored his own vote for the blanket bank guarantee which wrecked our State finances and provided continuous support for savage cuts and austerity measures alongside Fianna Fáil since 2008. Shamefully, this included his own disastrous stint in the Department of Health.

DÁIL PQ WITH THE MINISTER FOR PER ON GOVERNMENT SPENDING

Given the issues with the weather this year, the cervical cancer screening scandal, the forthcoming visit of the Pope and ongoing problems in the Departments of Health and Justice and Equality, among others, are Departments constantly in contact with the Minister to seek more money? I notice that in their Votes Departments have less of a buffer this year than in previous years. Are they close to profile in spending? When we received the stability programme update, I believe expenditure on housing was below profile. The members of the Committee on Budgetary Oversight believe more spending and more resources are required in the area of health. Is this something that concerns the Minister? Will we have Supplementary Estimates for the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection?

DÁIL SPEECH DURING THE TOPICAL ISSUE DEBATE ON CARILLION

I share the sentiments of Deputy Boyd Barrett. Since 2008 or 2009 in particular Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments have decimated the public capital programme and resorted to this PPP approach. Recently, a colleague of the Minister’s, Andrew McDowell, previously his party’s main economic adviser, told the Committee on Budgetary Oversight why we should use PPPs and try to keep projects off-balance sheet. At the end of the day, the people, the State and especially the communities affected by the building projects at Coláiste Ráithín, St. Philomena’s, Tyndall college, the Eureka secondary school and Loreto college are having to pick up the pieces for a failed and short-sighted Government policy.

BROUGHAN CRITICAL OF CEANN COMHAIRLE’S REFUSAL TO ALLOW DÁIL QUESTION ON EMC

It is regrettable that the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, has refused to permit a question requiring the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, to explain to the Dáil the information available to the Economic Management Council (EMC) regarding write-downs of state assets since 2011.