Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Michael McGrath TD has welcomed the publication of the exchequer returns to the end of July ‘which show the implementation of Budget 2011 to be broadly on target.’

Commenting on the returns, Deputy McGrath stated ‘Excluding the exceptional costs of the banking bailout, the exchequer deficit fell by almost €2 billion compared to the same period in 2010. This is welcome news, and confirms that much progress has been made to stabilise the public finances. Despite opposing almost every aspect of Budget 2011 tooth and nail, Fine Gael and Labour are now overseeing its implementation in Government.

‘While the headline exchequer receipts exceed target, the year-on-year fall in VAT receipts underlines the weakness of the domestic economy and this must be borne in mind by the Government in framing Budget 2012. The mixed messages being given by the Government on their plans for income tax and welfare changes in next December’s budget are not helping to build confidence among consumers.

‘It is clear there is a twin crisis of cash and confidence in the domestic economy and we will not achieve a sustainable economic recovery until this situation improves. We cannot solely rely on a buoyant export sector to bring about the economic renewal we all wish for.

Deputy McGrath also expressed concern that capital spending is 10.6% below target for the year, ‘It is important that labour intensive capital projects continue to receive investment.

‘Overall, the exchequer returns are to be welcomed. Over the coming months, the impact of the Government’s jobs initiative on exchequer returns and the live register figures will give us an indication of the short to medium term prospects for the domestic economy,’ stated Deputy McGrath.