15. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the rolling selective spending review process which will take place in his Department between 2017 and 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53247/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As part of my Estimates speech on Budget day last year I announced that a spending review would take place on a three-year rolling basis.

The first cycle of the Spending Review in 2017, which culminated in the publication of over 20 analytical papers on Spending Review topics, was successfully completed in October following the publication of Budget 2018. This was the first cycle of a series of selective reviews of the current expenditure base that will remain in place for a 3-year period, thereby informing the preparation of the next two Budgets.

In advance of Budget 2019, the Spending Review in 2018 will examine the next phase of expenditure topics. It is planned that the remaining phase of current expenditure topics will be covered the following year. The primary objective of the Spending Review in 2018 is to build on the work completed in 2017 and continue to reinforce the use of data, evidence and analysis to support decision-making in the Estimates process.

As the Deputy will be aware, there are a number of significant risks - both internal and external - to the sustainability of our current growth and fiscal performance. These require that Government secure the continuation of sound public finances to underpin sustainable economic growth. The experience from recent years is that this is best achieved by allocating scarce resources in the most efficient and effective way. The Spending Review is a key tool that can enable the achievement of this goal.

Preparations for the second cycle of spending review are underway and the process will formally begin in January 2018.