Wednesday 18 October 2017

CSO data shows economy on mend aftercrash

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

The Central Statistics Office produced a statistical treasure trove yesterday with the unpromising title: 'Sustainable Development Indicators Ireland 2013'.

There are so many interesting figures that it is almost impossible to give more than a flavour of the report which seeks to place Ireland's development in an international context.

While few of the figures are new, it is useful to have the data collected in one place for anybody who is interested in anything from relative forestry levels to the proportion of children driven to school every day.

Looking at the economy, which is only one chapter of this mammoth report, the CSO shows Ireland received a net €1.5bn from the EU in 2000 but in 2009 contributed €156m on a net basis.

In 2011 we were again net recipients receiving €310m. In 2011, Germany's net contribution was almost €11bn while Poland's net receipts were €10.9bn.

The CSO also tracks income tax as a proportion of total exchequer tax revenue which decreased from 34pc in 2000 to 27pc in 2006 but then increased to 41pc in 2011.

In contrast, corporation tax increased from 10pc in 1995 to 16pc in 2002 but fell to 10pc in 2011.

In 2010, people earning under €20,000 accounted for 10pc of total taxable income and paid 0.3pc of total income tax. Those earning over €100,000 accounted for 23pc of total taxable income and paid 46pc of total income tax.

Turning to the public sector, the record shows that wages of public sector workers increased from 33pc of general government current expenditure in 2000 to 37pc in 2005 before decreasing to 31pc in 2011.

During the 2000-2008 period public sector wages accounted for six to 10 percentage points more of general government current expenditure than the proportion accounted for by social welfare payments.

In 2009 both represented 33pc of the total. In 2011 social welfare payments, at 34pc, exceeded the cost of public sector wages.

When it comes to housing, the CSO calculates that Ireland had the highest level of completions of residential units per 1,000 persons with a rate of 17.8 in 2007.

Spain was the next highest at 15.4. In 2011 the rates had fallen to 2.3 in Ireland and 3.6 in Spain. In contrast, the rate in Germany has been much steadier at around two completions per 1,000 persons during the 2007-2011 period – still lower than the rate in Ireland or Spain today.

Yesterday's report contains reams of other information but for those who found themselves wondering about how children travel to school or the proportion of the country covered by forest, the answers are simple albeit alarming.

Ireland had the second lowest level of forest cover in the EU in 2010 with 10.7pc of total land area.

The proportion of children aged five to 12 being driven to school by car increased from 26pc in 1986 to 61pc in 2011. No wonder our kids are so fat.

Irish Independent

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