The tables are based on DofF Update January 2009. Benign scenario assumes moderately deeper growth contraction (GDP), a fall-off in the tax receipts (as outlined in my previous update - in line with January 2009 Exchequer returns), a contraction in semi-state companies returns and my forecast for the 'savings' to be achieved in 2009-2013. All changes are marked in red. Blue color denotes differences in assumptions between moderate and benign scenarios, with moderate scenario assuming slightly deeper contractions in tax revenue, semi-states returns and shortfall in committed 'savings'.
Perhaps the most important lines to consider in both scenarios are lines: GEN GOV BALANCE and Gen Gov balance as % of GDP, which show that even under benign scenario, current dynamics in tax receipts and semi-states' revenue imply that Ireland will not be able to achieve Growth and Stability Pact limits on Governement deficit of 3% by 2013. The range for Gen Gov Balance Deficit is between €21bn and €22bn in 2009 - a far cry from the DofF forecast of €17.2bn.
Another important aspect of these estimates is the sensitivity of the general deficit to the assumption on 'savings' to be generated in 2009-2013. Given last week's fiasco with Mr Cowen's proposals, it is now absolutely clear to me that:
- the cuts planned by the DofF for 2009-2013 are not going to materialise in full;
- the cuts that will have a cumulative effect over the years forward are not going to cover the entire amounts planned, so that one-off-measures will play a significant role in total savings to be achieved.