Mairéad Farrell TD calls on Minister McGrath to ensure capital expenditure targets are met
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Mairéad Farrell TD, has called on Minister Michael McGrath to ensure that capital expenditure targets are met.
Her comments follow reports in the Sunday Business Post that Minister McGrath said it would be ‘challenging’ for departments to meet their capital budget spending targets.
Due to delays arising from Covid restrictions there was a significant capital underspend in 2020, and unless Minister McGrath takes action a similar pattern could be observed for 2021. In 2020 there was a 1 billion underspend in the capital budget which saw €735 million carried forward to this year with the remaining €265 million returned to the exchequer.
Teachta Farrell said:
"Capital expenditure is vital to our efforts to stimulate the economy and help us get back on track as we emerge from the Covid crisis.
"We cannot have a situation where the funds are there but are just sitting idle. Any delays to these funds being deployed just slows our recovery and puts jobs at risk.
"The capital spend in the first quarter of this year was down 21% on the same period last year, a drop of €264 million.
"There are so many areas that are crying out for investment and plenty of shovel ready projects just waiting to get started.
"We’ve only recently had the IMF telling us that we need to increase public spending with capital investment identified.
"So I believe that Minister McGrath needs to redouble his efforts, with a view to putting in place further measures that can ensure departments catchup on their capital spending targets.
"If we are going to build back better, then the time to do it is now, there is no time to delay."