Proceeds from AIB share sale boosts Exchequer surplus

Exchequer returns recorded a surplus of €2.485bn for the second quarter of 2017, compared to a €1.1bn deficit for the same period last year, according to figures released today.

The improvement has been attributed to the recent AIB share disposal, as well as an improvement in VAT receipts and corporation tax.

Tax receipts in the first half of 2017 are up nearly €900m year-on-year - but remain 0.5% or €110m below targets set by the Department of Finance.

Speaking about the Exchequer figures today Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe said: "At the mid-point of the year the healthy tax performance is now largely on target, while expenditure remains within expectations.

"This means that we are currently on track to meet our fiscal targets for 2017 while also balancing the need to invest in capital projects and public services.

"Today’s headline Exchequer numbers are boosted by the successful sale of part of AIB which represents a recovery of some of the State’s support to the banking sector.

"This will be used to help reduce our debt burden and provides ‘shock absorption’ capacity to the public finances to meet challenges, such as Brexit, which may lie ahead.

"The Summer Economic Statement is due to be published shortly. This will set out the Government’s economic and fiscal approach, which seeks to ensure the continuation of sound and sustainable public finances as the cornerstone of ensuring continued improvements in domestic living standards."

Labour Finance Spokesperson, Joan Burton TD, has said today’s Exchequer Returns show the Government is now well poised to increase essential capital spending.

Responding to the figures just released by the Department of Finance, Deputy Burton said:

“Today’s Exchequer Returns indicate that the Government is in a strong position to commit to essential capital expenditure, to make up the clear requirements for additional spending in particular on new and refurbished schools, health infrastructure, and housing.

“The Taoiseach, who has constantly referenced income tax cuts as being his preferred option, also needs to explain why given that more people are also now at work, income tax receipts are behind profile.

She added: “Clearly, the other gloss on these figures is the sale of AIB which feature in the returns, but again it is an enormous regret that this very significant boost to the State’s coffers cannot go on Capital Investment- but instead the Government will use all of it to pay down the debt."


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