Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Government recorded a €300 million surplus in the first three months of the year, falling from the €4.1 billion surplus recorded in the final quarter of 2021.

Despite the fall, the 2022 Q1 figures show a large improvement on the same quarter last year, when a deficit of €6.4 billion was posted.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the improvement was primarily put down to an increase in tax revenues (up €4 billion), while expenditure fell €1.7 billion as social welfare payments reduced.

The Government’s spending on Covid-19 measures saw a large reduction between the first quarter of 2021 to Q1 2022, falling by €2.5 billion to €1.5 billion.

The main elements of this spending were:

  • €700 million on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
  • €200 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
  • €100 million on the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit
  • €400 million on Covid-19 related health expenditure

The State’s gross debt stood at €234.9 billion at the end of March, down slightly from €235.8 billion at the end of December, while net debt rose slightly from €192.3 billion to €193.1 billion in the same timeframe.

The figures also show that the market value of the State’s asset in Equity and Investment Fund Shares fell by €200 million in the first three months of the year, now standing at €34.8 billion.

The CSO said the fall in equity holdings during Q1 was largely explained by the sale of Bank of Ireland shares, while the State’s liability to small savings schemes, on account of mainly households continuing to invest in such initiatives, increased by €308 billion.

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