'Bord Snip' reveals €5.3bn savings plan

Friday 17 July 2009 06.59
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Colm McCarthy - Chaired 'An Bord Snip Nua'
Colm McCarthy - Chaired 'An Bord Snip Nua'
Savings - Cuts to social welfare proposed
Savings - Cuts to social welfare proposed

'An Bord Snip Nua' has recommended €5.3bn in potential savings, including 17,300 public service job cuts and a 5% drop in social welfare.

Read the full report & appendices
Watch the RTÉ News special
Watch extended Colm McCarthy interview

The 'Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes' was chaired by UCD economist Colm McCarthy and runs to some 80 pages with over 200 pages of appendices.

Mr McCarthy said the Government was borrowing €400m per week and paying a substantial rate of interest on those borrowings - and this could not continue.

On RTÉ News At One he said the board had to look to the big items of spending, which are health, education and social welfare.

In addition to 17,300 public service job cuts and the 5% reduction in social welfare payments - saving €850m a year - the report says social welfare recipients and Community Employment participants should receive only one payment.

'An Bord Snip Nua' also recommends reducing child benefit payments and revising and simplifying the qualification criteria for the medical card.

The group says the Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs should be closed and its functions redistributed. It also says the need for the Department of Arts, Sports & Tourism should be critically examined and the programme expenditure of both departments should be significantly scaled back.

Transfer payments and expenditure programmes across the agricultural area should be scaled back, according to the report.

It recommends reducing the number of Special Needs Assistants and English Language Support Teachers and introducing charges and co-payment mechanisms for services including, school transport, medicines and home help.

The report says there should be a further reduction in allowances for TDs and Senators. It recommends reducing the number of Local Authorities from 34 to 22.

It also recommends that the number of garda stations be halved from 700 to around 350.

Read political reaction to the proposals

OUTLINE OF PROPOSALS

Social and Family Affairs - More

* Cuts to all social welfare payments by 5% - €850m

* Reduction and changes to child benefit - €513m

* An end to receiving two welfare payments - €100m

* An end to payments for Community Employment Schemes for those already on benefit - €100m

* Cutting benefits for dental, optical and hearing services - €92m

* Grading of jobseekers allowance by age - €70m

* Cutting the Family Support Agency - €30m

* Changing eligibility for Family Income Supplement - €20m

* Taxing household benefits package - €11.6m

Staff cuts - None

Total cut €1.8bn

Health and Children - More

* Reduce the size of the Department by 10% a year over the next three years - €11m

* Reduce HSE staff - €391.3m

* Revise the income guidelines for the Medical Card to the basic rate of social welfare, the jobseekers allowance - €100m

* Increase the threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme from 4100 to €125 a month - €37m

* Those previously receiving free prescriptions must now pay €5 for each prescription - €70m

* Hold an open competition to provide services under the General Medical Services scheme - €370m

* Increase Hospital Charges - €6m

* Increase charges for private facilities in public hospitals by 20% - €50m

* Hospitals and clinicians must provide generic medicines, off-patent drugs and value-for-money treatments - €30m

* Changes to agencies and organisations in the disability and mental health area which receive State funding - €50m

* Changes to the Fair Deal scheme with the individual to contribute more to nursing home care from their own residence - €50m

* Means test for Homecare packages - €24m

Staff cuts: 6168

Total cuts: €1.2bn

Education and Science - More

* Staff and pay cuts in primary and post primary schools - €150m

* Staff cuts at third level - €140m

* Cuts to number of special needs assistants and English language support teachers - €81m

* Increased pupil teacher ratio at primary and post primary - €80m

* Change to student support grant - €70m

* Cuts to capitation grants for primary and post primary schools - €25m

* Cuts to research and development - €27.5m

* Cuts to grants for private schools - €25m

* Merging of smaller primary schools - €25m

* Cuts to school transport - €25m

* Integration of senior travelling training - €25m

* Cuts to third level structures - €23.7m

Staff cuts 6,390

Total cut €746m

Agriculture - More

* Reduce expenditure on the Disadvantaged Area Compensatory Allowance Scheme by 30% - €66m

* Terminate the Suckler Cow Scheme - €44m

* Close REPS 4 and no rollover from REPS 2 and 3 into REPS 4 - €80m

* Reduce Teagasc staff numbers, rationalise Teagasc and Dept offices - €37m

Total cuts €305m

Staff cuts 1,140 staff

Enterprise, Trade and Employment

* Merge the regional offices and shared services of Enterprise Ireland, IDA and FÁS - €87m

* A single reduced funding stream for all science, technology and innovation activities across all departments - €53m

* Streamline all support of Irish enterprises and marketing functions in Enterprise Ireland - €10m

* Stop funding the FÁS Services to Business and Skillnets programmes - €27m

* Cuts to training allowances for the unemployed - €24.5m

Total cuts €237.7m

Staff cuts 594

Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

* Cuts to Community Services Programmes - €64m

* Cuts to Gaeltacht Schemes - €20.8m

* Cuts to islands infrastructure - €20m

Staff cuts 196

Total cut €151m

Environment, Heritage and Local Government - More

* Cuts to local government including an end to 12 county or town councils - €100m

* Further efficiencies - €30m

Staff cuts 30

Total cut €130m

Transport

* Efficiencies among CIE companies - €55m

* Cuts to road maintenance - €20m

* Cuts to regional air services - €15m

* Axing the Rural Transport Scheme - €11m

* Outsourcing of driver and vehicle testing - €10m

* Cuts to the Road Saferty Authority - €4.2m

* Merging the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency - €3m

* Merging the National Vehicle and Driver File into the Road Safety Authority - €2m

Staff cuts 80

Total cut €127.1m

Arts, Sports and Tourism - More

* Cuts in allocation to tourism and marketing - €27m

* Cut in grant to Sports Council - €17.7m

* Cut allocation to Horse and Greyhound Fund - €16.4m

Staff cuts 170

Total cut €104.8m

Justice - More

* Cuts to pay and allowances for justice sector staff - including gardai - €65m

* Cuts to the courts service - €13.5m

* Cuts in immigration staff - €10m

* Transfer disability functions of department to Department of Health - €2.6m

* Cuts to Youth Detention Centres - €2.5m

Staff cuts 540

Total cut €136.4m

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

* Cuts to energy efficiency schemes run by Sustainable Energy Ireland - €40m

* Cuts to direct funding to TG4 - to be partially funded from licence fee - €10m

Staff cuts 106

Total cuts €65.6m

Defence - More

* Measures including a reduction in Defence Forces personnel by more than 500

Total cuts €53m

Staff cuts 520

Finance

* Cuts to the Office of Public Works - reducing spare capacity and rental costs - €21m
Staff cuts 660

Total cuts €82.8m

Department of Foreign Affairs - More

* Cuts to overseas missions - €15m

* Cuts to overseas aid - €14.8m

* Cuts to Support for Irish Emigrants - €1m

Staff cuts 65

Total cut €41.7m

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission

* Changes to some operations - €6m

* Cuts to Oireachtas Allowances and Benefits - €1.5m

Total cuts €7.8m

Staff cuts 42

National Treasury Management Agency

* Reduce staff and other administrative costs - €5.3m

* Changes at the State Claims Agency including payment schemes, legal fees and risk management services

Total cuts €5.3m

Staff cuts 40

Department of the Taoiseach

* An end to the National Economic and Social Development Organisation - except for the National Economic and Social Council - €4m

* Axing the Law Reform Commission - €2.8m

* Cuts to the cost of Census 2011 - €2.2m

Staff cuts 77

Total Cut €17.5m