Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Seán Fleming has welcomed the Government’s decision to agree, as proposed by Fianna Fáil in June, to back-to-back budget announcements from the Ministers for Public Expenditure and Finance.
Deputy Fleming said: “The choreography of budget day traditionally involved the Minister for Finance taking the lead on all announcements relating to spending in every department and all changes to taxation. However following the Government’s decision to establish the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Fianna Fáil proposed in the Dáil that separate budget announcements would be required by both Ministers.”
Speaking in the Dáil debate on the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2011 on June 23rd Deputy Fleming said: ‘In my view, the Budget Statement on budget day should be a joint statement by the two Ministers. The Minister for Finance should announce the details of tax increases and all those matters relevant to the Department of Finance and perhaps matters relevant to the management of the national debt and banking issues. The Budget Statement is based on an analysis of Government expenditure. The Minister on budget day refers regularly to social welfare payments and various other headings of expenditure while other Ministers make announcements relevant to their Departments. If the Minister, Deputy Howlin, is responsible for expenditure, then he should be here on budget day announcing all the measures relating to expenditure which traditionally have been under the remit of the Department of Finance.’
Speaking this afternoon Deputy Fleming said: “The Government’s decision to split the expenditure and taxation announcements over two days with a debate on either day following the Minister’s statement is very welcome and in line with the budget reform suggestions I proposed in June. I am pleased that Minister Howlin has taken this proposal on board and secured Cabinet approval for the new process.”