Beating Budget target will act as 'buffer'
THE Government will be actively seeking to beat its Budget deficit target next year to provide a "prudent buffer" against any unforeseen external shock to the economy, Finance Minister Michael Noonan told TDs.
The minister said there was "cause for optimism" as the State prepares to leave the bailout on December 15.
Introducing the Finance Bill before the Dail, Mr Noonan said robust growth was expected next year with personal spending expected to increase as jobs are created.
The minister also said that next year will be the first that Ireland will record a primary surplus, which means that excluding debt servicing costs, the State will have enough revenue to meet spending.
And he said the Government would be actively looking to beat its deficit target of 4.8pc of the value of the economy next year.
"While all the targets under the excessive deficit procedure have been met to date, 2014 will be the first year in which we will be actively seeking to overachieve the target," he said.
"This overachievement will form a prudent buffer to allow for any possible external shocks to the economy and will reassure the markets of Ireland's steadfast commitment to restoring the sustainability of the public finances."
Mr Noonan said that while considerable work remains in getting the jobless back to work, he was pleased by the response of the private sector to Budget measures.