IRELAND’S DEFICIT AT the end of the first quarter of 2013 stands at just under 3.7 billion- a reduction of €568 million on the same quarter last year.
Overall tax revenue is up €95 million on last year with net voted expenditure down €689 million. For the month of March, tax revenues amounted to €3,001 million which is an increase of €172 million year-on-year.
Tax revenues surpassed targets for the quarter by €47 million with corporation tax, stamp duties and customs all meeting or exceeding targets. Corporation tax was significantly ahead of target – by €147 million – though the overall figure is still a decrease of €74 million year-on-year and VAT is also down €72 million on the target set by the government of just over €3.3 billion.
Income tax for the month was €56 million up on March 2012 and 0.7 per cent ahead of target. However excise duties are behind target at €990 for the quarter though they are up marginally year-on-year.
March 2013 saw the first receipts of Local Property Tax with €1.3 million received into the Exchequer. The Department of Finance said this “is particularly encouraging given the fact that payments were not due until much later in the year”.
Commenting on the figures today, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the strong tax performance is “particularly noteworthy given that there has been no increase in income tax credits, rates or bands over the period and may be reflective of the stabilising labour market evident over recent quarters”.
All departments but three reduced spending compared with the first quarter last year. Expenditure in Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is up 4.9 per cent on last year while spending in the Children and Youth Affairs group is up almost 16 per cent.
Communications, Energy and National Resources has cut spending by almost 29 per cent which is the largest saving followed by Public Expenditure and Reform which reduced expenditure by 27.5 per cent to €185 million.
Exchequer borrowing increased by some €6.5 billion during March 2013, primarily reflecting the raising of €5 billion through the sale of a new 10 year benchmark treasury bond, as well as IMF and UK bilateral loan drawdowns under the EU/IMF Programme.
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said that expenditure overall is “on target and in line with expectations”, including the big spending departments.
“It is, however, early in the year and the Government is aware of the continuing need to keep overall expenditure on profile,” he added.