3rd January, 2013



Good Exchequer Performance: Taxes Up; Spending on Target

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan, T.D. and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin, T.D commented on the end December Exchequer returns issued today, saying;

“The Exchequer outturn for 2012 highlights the continued improvement we are making in the public finances. Tax revenue grew strongly in 2012 and indeed outperformed expectation with underlying Departmental spending coming in on target.

We continue to meet all of our budgetary targets including the end-December Exchequer primary balance and Central Government net debt targets that are part of the EU/IMF Programme. For each of the nine quarters since the Programme commenced in late 2010, we have successfully met all of these targets.

The 2012 General Government deficit target of 8.6 per cent of GDP will, on the basis of these Exchequer figures, also be achieved by a significant margin.

Notwithstanding the significant progress we are making, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we continue to spend more than we collect in revenue. The Exchequer deficit, at close to €15 billion in 2012, is too large and the Government remains committed to reducing it further in the coming years. The measures introduced in Budget 2013 are the latest step in that regard. Stable public finances are an essential prerequisite to economic growth and job creation.

Ireland is making strong, consistent progress towards emerging from the Programme and today’s figures show that the measures we are implementing to close the deficit in our public finances are working. Our recovery is on track.”

Commenting on voted expenditure in 2012 Minister Howlin stated:

“Overall, expenditure was on target, with Ministers and their Departments working hard so that this Government can continue to meet its fiscal objectives, while delivering the quality services that the public needs and deserves.”

Minister Noonan stated:

“Tax revenues performed very well in 2012, recording a small surplus against profile for the year as a whole. Taxes grew significantly last year compared to 2011. Encouragingly, after some weakness in recent months, taxes were particularly strong in the month of December. This is a positive development as we start the New Year. It gives me further confidence that the Budget tax revenue target for 2013 is both robust and achievable.”

The two Ministers concluded:

There are clear signs that overall economic confidence is returning. Retail sales have recorded strong growth over recent months and the anecdotal reports from the Christmas – New Year period are positive.  These and other metrics, such as export data, illustrate that the Government’s plan for economic recovery is working.  We know that there are many difficulties that remain for people but we are committed to implementing the budget measures to ensure that we build on these positive signs.”