Government recorded surplus of €8.3 billion last year – CSO

April 23, 2024

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the general government balance showed a surplus of €8.3 billion or 1.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2023.

This marked a slight decrease on the record surplus of €8.6 billion in 2022.

The CSO said that total government revenue increased to €123.7 billion in 2023, an increase of €7.8 billion on the figures for 2022 and 40% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The increase was driven by the continued growth in tax revenue, which moved €4.7 billion higher in 2023.

2023 saw increases across both direct taxes and indirect taxes, today’s figures show.

Direct taxes, which includes corporation tax, reported a year-on-year increase of €3.3 billion (5.7%) while indirect taxes also showed growth last year of €1.4 billion (4.4%).

Meanwhile, total government expenditure also rose to €115.4 billion last year, €8.1 billion more than the previous year and 33% more than pre-Covid levels.

This was due to increases across most expenditure items, including compensation of employees, intermediate consumption, social benefits and gross fixed capital formation.

The CSO noted that subsidies saw big reductions in 2023, due to the end of Covid-19 related schemes, while cost of living measures and supports for Ukrainian refugees also contributed to a growth in expenditure.

Today’s figures also show that gross general government debt fell by €4.1 billion to €220.7 billion at the end of 2023. The CSO said that this is equivalent to 43.7% of GDP and represents debts of €41,781 per person, down from €43,354 in 2022.

The Minister for Finance Michael McGrath today noted the “significant budgetary surplus” in 2023 for the second year in a row, saying the result is testament to the careful management of the public finances in recent years. He said the surplus gives the Government options that are not open to many peer countries in the developed world.

But he noted that it is important not to lose sight of the fact that at least part of the surplus is due to the strength of corporation tax receipts, some of which is likely to prove windfall in nature.

“While our headline position is strong, this can change quickly given the inherent volatility in our corporation tax receipts and the dependence we have on revenues from a small number of multinational companies,” the Minister said.

“In this context, it is imperative that transitory revenue streams are not used to finance permanent increases in expenditure or reductions in taxation. With this in mind, Government recently published legislation providing for the establishment of the Future Ireland Fund and the Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund,” he said.

“The Bill has now passed second stage in the Dáil and will proceed to committee stage shortly,” he added.

Article Source – Government recorded surplus of €8.3 billion last year – CSO – RTE

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