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Press Statement


21 October 2020

Press Statement Government Finance Statistics Quarterly Results Q2 2020

Government expenditure in the first half of the year was up significantly, reflecting the supports put in place in response to the pandemic
  • A deficit of €10.2 billion (5.8% of quarterly GDP) was recorded in the first half of 2020 and the highest level of general government debt at €226 billion
  • Due to the introduction of Covid-19 related supports, the level of Government expenditure was up €6.2 billion compared with Q2 2019 and revenue declined, linked to both the supports and restrictions put in place
  • In the first six months of 2020, government revenue of €38.3 billion was 6.7% lower than the same period of 2019
  • Tax revenue was down 6.0% in first half of the year
  • Expenditure in the first half of the year was up significantly to €48.5 billion due to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), increased spending in the health sector and the introduction of the Restart Grant

Go to release: Government Finance Statistics Quarter 2 2020

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (21 October 2020) released Government Finance Statistics Quarterly Results, Quarter 2 2020.

Commenting on the release, Jason Sibley, Statistician, said: ‘On an underlying basis, the Q2 2020 deficit of €6.6 billion is the largest on record, i.e. when the supports to the financial sector are excluded from the 2009-2011 data.

In March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government introduced measures to increase the capacity of the health sector and provide supports to businesses and households.

These measures were in place for the duration of the second quarter. As a result, there was a direct impact on the level of expenditure (up €6.2 billion compared with Q2 2019). In order to finance these measures, government borrowing has increased by €22 billion in the first half of the year.

On the expenditure side, the increases are mainly due to the TWSS and PUP (just over €4 billion combined).

In terms of revenue, taxes are down significantly, predominantly due to lower levels of VAT. Indirect taxes were down 23.5% while direct taxes (including corporation tax and income tax) were up 8.7%. Other revenues have also declined, such as lower levels of social contributions (PRSI receipts), sale of goods and services (reduced receipts across health, transport and local government) and investment income (in particular due to the ECB recommendation to all euro-area banks to not pay dividends).’


Please email

For further information contact:

Jason Sibley (+353) 1 498 4219

or email

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