03/12/2010

Capital Expenditure Gains 'Lost In HSE 'Pay-offs'

Exchequer returns have been published by the Department of Finance and are showing a large budget deficit.

The amount hit €13.3 billion at the end of November, but that deficit compares well to a budget deficit of €22.1 billion at the same time last year. However, the difference is largely accounted for by the major once-off payments made last year to the National Pensions Reserve Fund and the Anglo Irish Bank.

But, any improvement is set to be all but wiped out as expected savings in capital expenditure at year-end are likely to be largely offset by the costs associated with staff 'exit mechanisms' in the Health Service Executive, (HSE) where many have been offered cost-cutting early severance.

In fact, capital expenditure, at just under €4.4 billion at end-November is €1.3 billion or 23% below the corresponding period in 2009. It is €851 million or 16.3% below profile.

According to the Department of Finance, Thursday's figures show that taxes taken in by the Government are 4.1% below the same period last year.

A comprehensive Government statement said: "Tax receipts in the period to end-November amount to €29.5 billion.

"This is €470 million or 1.6% above profile. November is the largest month of the year for tax revenues and all tax-heads performed above expectations in the month.

"On a cumulative basis, all tax-heads with the exception of income tax are above target in the first eleven months.

"A corporation tax surplus of €589 million, combined with smaller surpluses in the other tax-heads, most notably excise duties and VAT, offset the income tax shortfall of €356 million.

"Income tax from the self-employed in the month of November performed better than expected although PAYE receipts came in below target," the official statement continued.

The figures also show that Government spending is down on last year by 4.2%

Total net voted expenditure at end-November 2010 is €40.8 billion, which is €1.8 billion or 4.2% below the same period in 2009.

Net voted current expenditure, at €36.4 billion is slightly below target (-€166 million or -0.5%) and is €495 million or 1.3% down year-on-year, despite the large anticipated increase in the current spending of the Department of Social Protection.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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