Saturday, December 4, 2010

Economics 4/12/10: Exchequer expenditure side

Let's take a look at the dynamics of the Exchequer expenditure, building on the data released for November earlier this week.

First the total expenditure:
On total spending side, November 2010 posted improvement of €1.795 billion year on year or 4.22%, and €2.867 billion on November 2008, or 6.57%. Much of this came out of the capital investment cuts, but even putting this aside it is clear that adjustments on the spending side of Exchequer balance sheet have been too slow to reach the levels required (ca 20-25%).

Next, by separate departments.
A cut of 28.53% on 2009 levels in November.
Chart above shows bizarre reality of our budgetary allocations. Arts, Sport and Tourism gobbled up some 2.2 times more resources than Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in November 2010. This was 2.67 times in 2008, and 2.26x in 2009. No one is to say that Arts, Sport and Tourism are not important, but does anyone feel we've got some priorities screwed up pretty solidly here?
Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs - with a budget 1.97 times (November 2010) greater than that of the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has also been one of the core laggards in delivering savings. Presumably because it finances such vital economic activities as delivery of Irish language translations of the speeches of our Dear Leaders. Again, anyone seriously thinking that our priorities should be in spending double the amount we spend on communications, energy and natural resources on rural supports schemes and Gaeltacht subsidies?
Education - despite what we might have heard - is one of the least affected spending departments, compared to others. Year on year November 2010 delivered cuts of 4.3%, while 2 year cuts amounted to 3.2%. This does look like at least some priorities might be right. In contrast, ETE saw cuts of 26.9% over 2009-2010 span (November to November) and 26.2% of these came in 2008-2010.

Just in case if you think we were already spending enough on preserving various arts, linguistic and other cultural values, here comes Environment, Heritage and Local Government (of course, I am being slightly sarcastic, as it also provides funding for Local Government):
Environment, Heritage and Local Government delivered the largest cuts of all departments year on year - at 36.3% through November. It also delivered the largest cut on 2008 - 44.1%. In contrast, boffins at Finance are still lagging the average cuts with 2009-2010 reductions of just 4.3% and cumulative 2008-2010 cut of 17.7%.
Foreign Affairs are down 26.7% on 2008 levels and most of this came in in 2009, so 2009-2010 November to November figures are -4.8%. Health - a giant of all departments with a budget of 26.2% of total spending in November 2010 and 27.1% for the full year 2009 and 27.9% in 2008. Notice that as with Education, the priority of inflicting least cuts in Health is also held steady. Overall Health is down 15.3% on 2008 and 11.2% on 2009.
Social Welfare accounted for 22.3% of total departmental spending in the full year 2009 and 19.1% in 2008. These figures rose to 28.65% in 11 months through November 2010. In fact, the department is the only one where the expenditure has risen steadily in 2009 and 2010, for quite apparent reasons. Total rise was 40% over the last 2 years and 21.8% of that came in 12 months since November 2009.

Like Finance, Taoiseach's Group is enjoying shallower cuts than other departments:
So far, Taoiseach's Group lost 17.8% of its 2008 level spending, while Transport lost 30.1%. In part, this reflects differences in the size of capital budgets for two departments, but in part it also represents the skewed priorities of this Government when it comes to cutting current spending, especially within core civil service numbers.

Table below summarizes these results of annual comparisons:

Next, lets plot levels and percentages of reductions in total expenditures, year on year:
Notice the decline in 2009-2010 savings in relative terms over the course of the year. This can be explained in part by the often mentioned, but never confirmed, delays in payments by the Government to suppliers and a lag in capital expenditure.

Chart below summarizes the 2008-2010 changes in spending by quarter (with 4th quarter reflected as to-date figures through November):

Now, for the last bit - the deficit:
Notice that the above is not including banks measures in 2010, but does include bank measures in 2009, which of course, obscures the true extent of our savings. But that is a matter for another post.

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