Government beats its budget deficit target
THE Government beat its budget deficit target last year, official figures show.
The gap between how much the State spends and what is brought in through taxes and other revenue narrowed to 7.2pc of the value of the economy – beating the 7.5pc target.
It was also better than the 8.2pc recorded in 2012, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Government debt rose to 123.7pc of gross domestic product (GDP) during the year, up from 117.4pc in 2012. Gross government debt stood at €202bn at the end of last year.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said 2013 was the third consecutive year that Ireland has performed ahead of target.
"[The] statistics highlight the progress that has been made in restoring order to the public finances," he said.
The Government must reduce the budget deficit to below 3pc of the GDP by the end of next year under European debt and deficit rules.
The Department of Finance estimated in the Budget that the deficit will come in at about 4.8pc this year and 2.9pc in 2015.