24. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has made provision for further changes in the gross capital expenditure ceilings for 2018 in view of the ongoing infrastructural deficits in housing, health, transport and education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47228/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017)
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 23, 24 and 78 together.
As I announced at Budget 2018, Government has allocated a significant and well-planned, increase in public capital investment amounting to €4.3 billion over the period 2018-2021. This is in addition to the additional €2.2 billion for housing already allocated to the implementation of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
Consequently between 2014 and 2021 public capital expenditure in Ireland will have more than doubled and as set out by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, this will see public investment in Ireland moving to among the highest in the EU.
I am satisfied that this new planned level of public capital investment represents an appropriate balance between the need for additional investment to realise the economy’s long-term growth potential, the capacity of the economy to deliver additional public infrastructure consistent with fiscal and macroeconomic sustainability and the need to adhere to the responsible spending path agreed by Government with reference to the requirements of the EU Fiscal Rules.
In the meantime, the delivery of a large number of public capital investment projects and programmes is proceeding and while the position in relation to any individual project is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant responsible Minister, the review of the 2015 Capital Plan which I published on 14 September, includes an update for each Department setting out the significant progress already being made in relation to implementation. A copy of the review has been supplied to all Deputies. My Department also published a major projects tracker, providing an update on progress on all significant projects and programmes with a value in excess of €20m.
In addition work is advanced by my Department in preparing a long-term 10-year capital plan for consideration by Government in due course. The primary objective of the 10-year plan is to underpin the implementation of the new framework for spatial policy under the Ireland 2040 Plan. The assessment of priorities for public capital investment over that period will be strongly informed by the detailed Infrastructure Capacity and Demand Analysis prepared by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) which assessed key drivers of infrastructure demand in the areas of housing. health, transport and education referred to in the Deputy’s question. The Infrastructure Capacity and Demand analysis was published alongside the review of the current capital plan and is available on my Department’s website.