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Welfare, health and transport cuts confirmed in revised Budget figures

The government’s revised estimates for public spending in 2012 affirm where the State plans to send its money this year.

Leo Varadkar's Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will have the highest proportionate cut to its spending budget for 2013.
Leo Varadkar's Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will have the highest proportionate cut to its spending budget for 2013.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

DEEP CUTS in the budgets of the Departments of Health, Social Protection and Transport have been confirmed in the Government’s revised Budget figures.

The revised estimates for public spending in 2013, published yesterday evening, will see the allocation for ‘current’ (everyday) spending at the Department of Social Protection cut by over €484 million this year, compared to its spending for last year.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will see its overall Budget drop by €382 million – the largest proportional drop of any Government department – with the bulk of the fall in capital spending on areas like road construction.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health’s budget, which includes funding for the HSE, will be €257 million smaller in 2013 than was ultimately spent in 2012.

Other allocations which will take a significant dent are those for the Department of Education, where current spending will drop by €77.8 million, and the Department of Justice which will take a hit of €78.9 million. The Department of Agriculture will lose €55.3 million.

In relative terms, after the Department of Transport, the Department of Agriculture takes the biggest hit – losing 4.3 per cent of its spending power from last year – while the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has lost 4.2 per cent.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is losing 2.9 per cent of its Budget, while the large cuts in the Departments of Social Protection and Health will mean their budgets fall by 2.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Small good news for some ministers

There is some good news for some ministers in yesterday’s figures, however – with their Department’s budgets being increased when compared to their original allocations in December’s Budget figures.

Brendan Howlin’s own Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will have €17.3 million more to spend, while Phil Hogan’s Department of the Environment is given €15 million more than had originally been forecast.

Richard Bruton’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation gets €3.3m more than originally allocated, while the capital budget for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is increased by €2.3 million. The Department of Foreign Affairs gets €1.9 million more in its capital budget.

Overall, the revised estimates slightly increases the estimated amount that the Exchequer will spent on public pay and pensions in 2013 – at €18.07 billion – but reduces the estimated amount spent in 2012 by around the same amount.

That equates to 33.76 per cent of the €54.58 billion total of the government’s ‘voted’ expenditure this year.

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Gavan Reilly

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