Thursday, January 6, 2011

06/01/2011: Exchequer Returns - part 3

In parts 1 and 2 (here and here) I've dealt with some longer term issues relating to the general Exchequer performance figures. In the following two posts I will update specific expenditure (current post) and tax receipts (next post) data.

First, total expenditure:
Two things worth noting here:
  • Up until November, total spending side of Exchequer returns was performing relatively strongly, with year on year savings of 4.22%. These savings were significantly reduced in December, with full year savings performance of just 1.55% on 2009.
  • The reductions in 2010 have been achieved solely on the back of capital expenditure cuts. Year on year, current spending rose by €261mln or 0.6% in 2010, while capital spending was cut by 14.3% or €990mln
You can see the dynamics of reductions over the year in the following two charts:
Combined savings by each department head per quarter end:
Feel free to interpret the above, but what interested me much more is just how stable are the Government's spending priorities over time. To see this, I plotted annual shares of each department head as a percentage of total spend (note - this exercise is not a perfect comparison as departments' responsibilities have changed over time).
The chart above suggests strongly to me that the Government, despite all the criticism it deserves in managing the crisis, has so far elected to cut largely discretionary spending. This is a rational response to the early stages of the crisis, but it is clearly insufficient to deliver stabilization of public finances, let alone their restoration to health.
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