Housing is to emerge as the “big winner” in capital spending as the Government set out its “enormous ambitions” in its Summer Economic Statement.
Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, claimed there will be a significant increase in spending in its housing plans over the next few years.
The Department of Finance published its Summer Economic Statement (SES) on Wednesday, which sets out what October’s budget will likely be and the Government’s budgetary plans.
Mr McGrath said that while a significant proportion of capital spending will go on housing, he would not disclose the amount the Government has earmarked.
“Unfortunately for the finer detail we will have to wait but I intend to bring those to government now very shortly,” Mr McGrath said on Thursday.
“It will come as a surprise to no one that housing will be the big winner in the context of additional investment in capital infrastructure that this government will commit to.
“It is on the back of sustained increases in recent years in the Department of Housing. If you consider back in 2017 the capital budget for housing was just over 800 million euro.
“In the current year it is almost 2.8 billion euro.
“We have enormous ambitions.”
He said that capital budget on housing has increased three fold in the past four years.
“There will be significant increases but it’s not all abut money, it’s about delivering on the commitments about to be entered into in the context of Housing for All,” Mr McGrath added.
It will come as a surprise to no one that housing will be the big winner in the context of additional investment in capital infrastructure that this government will commit toMichael McGrath
“There are many non-financial challenges across the system there are bottlenecks, there are challenges in the planning system, there are challenges in relation to judicial reviews, we are seeing significant cost estimation and seeing constraints around construction supply.”
Mr McGrath said that the Department of Health and the HSE received a four billion euro increase in budget 2021.
Half of the budget was spent on tackling Covid-19, with costs going towards testing and tracing, buying PPE and implementing the vaccination programme.
“Earlier this week I met with (health) Minister (Stephen) Donnelly as a mid-year discussion to see how things are going and go through the various aspects and challenges of the progress and challenges they face in Covid and the cyber attack,” Mr McGrath added.
“I think it’s fair to say the recruitment has been slower than what was expected and there are various reasons behind that.
“We will sit down in more detail in September to look at the estimated position going into 2022.”
He said that over time Government will unwind emergency Covid related expenditure.
“That is a key driver in this framework of the reduction of the budget deficient over the next number of years,” he added.