WHERE ARE WE AT WITH THE CAPITAL PLAN 2016-2021

It sets the scene for decisions by Government on the allocation of the additional €4.1 billion in Estimates 2018, for capital investment over the period 2018-2021, and the preparation of a new 10 year National Investment Plan to sustain national economic and social progress over the longer term.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., said: ‘I welcome the publication of the Mid-Term Review of the Capital Plan which is particularly timely as the context for public capital investment has changed dramatically in the relatively short period since Building on Recovery was published in 2015. The significant progress made in restoring the public finances and the transformation in economic performance over the past two years has enabled Government to increase capital expenditure by a further €4.1 billion over the remaining period of the Capital Plan. This is in addition to the €2.2 billion already committed to support the delivery of the Action Plan for Housing along with other commitments made in Estimates 2017’.

The review draws on an evidence base that includes detailed submissions by Departments and Offices, an extensive public consultation, as well as an Infrastructure Capacity and Demand Analysis completed by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Minister continued: ‘An assessment of the quality and capacity of existing public infrastructure and the main drivers of future demand for public investment were core elements of the review. This is crucial in providing evidence to inform decision-making on the allocation of the substantial additional resources available for public investment in Estimates 2018’.

Based on the analysis, the review of the Capital Plan has identified a number of key sectors as priorities for investment, including transport, education and housing. These findings provide a detailed evidence base which will assist Government in selecting priorities for the allocation of the €4.1 billion of additional funding now available over the period to 2021.

Minister Donohoe concluded: ‘From a longer-term perspective, the review of the Capital Plan will provide a significant input into the development of a new long-term 10 year investment plan, to be published in conjunction with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government’s new National Planning Framework (NPF) – the objectives of which are fundamental to the achievement of long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability’.

The forthcoming National Planning Framework (NPF) has a critical role to play in influencing the pattern of future investment in public infrastructure, to underpin future growth on a balanced regional basis with a particular focus on the development of Ireland’s regional cities.

The Government will make final decisions on the allocation of the additional funding available for public investment over the period 2018-2021 in the context of the 2018 Estimates.

For a more extensive article see our September/October 2017 Issue of Irish Construction Industry Magazine available on subscription, email catherine@mcdmedia.ie