Government surplus shrinks by almost €2 billion

 

The Government finances returned to a slim surplus of €55 million for the first three months of the year in May. This compares with a surplus of nearly €1.98 billion for the same time the previous year.

Figures released by the Department of Finance today show that voted Departmental expenditure rose from €8.7 billion in 2001 to over €11.1 billion in May 2002. Overall expenditure showed a 21.7 per cent increase to €12.3 billion.

The figures for May reverses an Exchequer deficit of €113 million for the first four months to April.

However, the incoming Government faces severely reduced income tax revenues, which dropped over 14 per cent to €3.5 billion during the first five months of the year.

Overall tax revenue from January to May period dropped by one per cent to €10.95bn, while total Exchequer revenue fell by 2.2 per cent to €12.1bn.

The Minister for Finance, Mr McCreevy, has budgeted for a surplus of €170 million by the end of 2002.