Government deficit was just below the €337 million mark in the first quarter of this year, when revenue dropped by €193.6 million, expenditure was up €99.5 million and debt grew by €97.2 million.
The statistics show that the Exchequer is usually in the red in the first three months of the year. In fact, figures published by the National Statistics Office indicate a deficit at every first quarter of the year since 2015, bar in 2017, when a surplus was recorded. However, the deficits were nowhere near this year’s, the highest being €152.5 million in 2015.
Total revenue between January and March was €949.9 million, with drops in revenue registered in almost all categories, primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest decreases were in current taxes on income and wealth (€138.1 million), market output (€20.5 million), and net social contributions (€18.9 million).
The Government spent €1.3 billion in the period under review, with increases in expenditure recorded in subsidies payable (€47.7 million), mostly in relation to the COVID-19 wage supplement amounting to €36.9 million, intermediate consumption (€40.8 million), social transfers in kind (€14.3 million), compensation of employees (€11.6 million) and current transfers payable (€8.6 million).
General Government debt at the end of March stood at €5.9 billion and general Government guaranteed debt amounted to €1 billion.