Tuesday, July 5, 2011

05/07/2011: Irish Exchequer Expenditure: H1 2011

Previous posts on the H1 2011 Exchequer results covered Exchequer balance, Tax Burden composition, and Exchequer Receipts. This post will cover Exchequer Expenditure side of the balance sheet.

Please note: cross annual comparisons are distorted by the changes in departments compositions and remits. Nothing we can do about this.

Top level numbers for H1 2011.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (accounting for 1.8% of the total Net Voted Expenditure - NVE) spending stood at €388 million in H1 2011, down 28.9% on the same period for 2008 and down €79 million or 16% yoy, though all of the savings came from the capital side, with current spending up €87 million yoy (+44%).

Art, Heritage & Gaeltacht (0.5% of total NVE) managed to spend €108 million in H1 2011, down 67.3% on 2008. Spending here is down 68% yoy (saving €158 million) with most of savings coming from the current side, although in proportional terms capital savings are on par with current savings.

Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (0.4% of NVE) spending in H1 2011 was €98 million, up €13 million (+15%) on 2010. Increases in spending took place on current side (+€11 million or 28%) and capital side (+€2 million or 4%). Relative to H1 2008 spending is down 14.9% which is 7th lowest rate of savings amongst the departments.

Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs (0.5 of NVE) - no, don't ask me why is Gaeltacht having itself spread over 2 departments - spent €105 million, down €79 million (-43%) yoy. This time around, most of the savings in volume came from the current spending side, but in relative terms, capital spending is down 77% while current spending is down 36% yoy. Department spending has fallen 53.9% on comparable period in 2008.

Defence (1.9% of NVE) spent €419 million, which is down 13% on comparable period in 2008, making the department 6th lowest saver in the entire voted expenditure set. Department spending was up €4 million yoy with all of the increase accounted for by current spending.

Education and Skills spent €4,066 million in H1 2011 which is €171 million above H1 2010. Capital side increased by €59 million (+58% yoy) and current side was up €113 million (+3%) yoy. The department is the third largest of all Government Departments, accounting for 18.6% of NVE. Overall austerity has resulted in a 4.8% decrease in Department spending through H1 2011 compared to H1 2008, making the level of savings achieved the fourth lowest of all departments.


Jobs, Enterprise, Trade & Innovation (1.5% NVE) spent €336 million in H1 2011, down 48% on H1 2008. Compared to H1 2010, department spending fell €219 million (39% drop yoy) with current spending falling €245 million (-62%), while capital spending rose €26 million (+16%). Much of the capital side increases across the departments is attributable to the timing of spending with previous Government actively delaying paying on capital projects until later in the year. At least, with the current Government, contractors might be getting paid more on-time for their work.

Environment, Community & Local Government (2.6% of NVE) spent €561 million in H1 2011, down 52.8% on H1 2008. Spending was down €200 million yoy (-26%) with capital savings of €119 million (-32%) and current savings of €81 million (-21%).

Finance (2.3% NVE) managed to spend €510 million in H1 2011, down 20.3% on 2008 and achieving savings of a miserly €4 million yoy, with €20 million saved on current spending side and a deficit on 2010 of €16 million on capital side.

Foreign Affairs and Trade (1.6% of NVE) spending of €342 million is down €61 million (-15%) yoy, with €59 million of the savings coming from the current side. Relative to H1 2008, current year performance is delivering savings of 29.7%.

Health (the largest of all departments, with 30.9% of NVE, although Social Protection is coming close second and is bound to overtake Health by year end) spent €6,757 million in H1 2011, up a massive €666 million yoy of which €662 million came from the current spending side. With all of this, Health spending is now down 0.8% on H1 2008. The figures are obviously distorted by the introduction of USC, but as of H1 2011, the department has achieved 3rd lowest rate of savings of all departments.

Another billionaire department: Justice & Equality (4.9% of NVE) had total spending of €1,081 million in H1 2011, up €32 million on H1 2010 (+3%), with deficit coming at €56 million on current side, offset by savings of €24 million on capital side. Department spending is down 12.2% on H1 2008 - 5th lowest rate of savings across all Departments.

Social Protection (soon to be the largest spending department in Ireland but in H1 2011 accounting for 29.8% of NVE) spent €6,517 million - up 10% or €589 million yoy, with €587 million of this increase coming from the current side. Compared to H1 2008, H1 2011 spending rose 49.5% making it the worst performing department when it comes to savings.

Taoiseach (0.5% NVE) came with a bill of €108 million in H1 2011, which was 23.1% above comparable period in 2008. More than that, the department managed to increase its spending on 2010 as well, with cost rising by €20 million (+29%) yoy all of which came from current spending increases.

Transport, Tourism & Sport spending of €593 million in H1 2011 was 187 million down on H1 2010 (-24%) with savings of €240 million achieved on capital side and current side yielding an overrun of €53 million on 2010. The department accounts for 2.9% of NVE and spending here is down 53.8% on H1 2008.

So the top of the line numbers are: in H1 2011 Total Net Cumulative Voted Spending stood at €21,898 million or which €20,547 million were accounted for by current spending and €1,351 million by capital spending. Overall expenditure is now €399 million above H1 2010 (no sign of austerity here, if anything, spending just rolls on at the aggregate) - an overspend of 1.9%. On Current expenditure side things are even more 'boomish' with overspend relative to 2010 at €892 million (+4.5%). Capital took another hit of real austerity with spending here coming €493 million below H1 2010 (-26.8%).
The above clearly shows that while austerity has caused some real pain in specific departments, it has not been successful in reducing total spending. This is even more worrisome, when one recognizes that by now, capital account has been drained with no sizable potential future savings to be achieved on this side. On the current expenditure side, austerity so far has meant taking spending on one side of the Exchequer shopping list and spending it on the other. One way or the other, this is not austerity, folks. It's reallocation of expenditure priorities.

Now, recall, in H1 2011 we spent total of €21,898 million. That is just €804.5 million in savings relative to H1 2008 (or 3.54% improvement) - after 3 austerity budgets!

So what do these figures look like in dynamic setting - month-to-month?
And where do we take money from and reallocate to?
No need for another comment here.
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