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Government Finance Statistics Quarter 4 2021

This release has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect some of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation. For further information see Background Notes.

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CSO statistical publication, , 11am

On-line ISSN: 2009-6178
Table 1.1 General Government Finances
  2021 Q32021 Q4 2020 Q1 - Q42021 Q1 - Q4
Deficit/Surplus€ billion-2.63.5 -19.1-8.1
 % of quarterly GDP-2.23.3 -4.2-6.5
 seasonally adjusted (€ billion)-1.5-0.6 -19.3-8.8
Gross debt€ billion236.2235.9   
 % of annualised GDP57.756.0   
Net debt€ billion193.9192.6   
 % of annualised GDP47.345.7   


A seminar on Government Finance Statistics will take place on 27 April. For more information and registration see Seminar on Government Finance Statistics


Government surplus of €3.5 billion in fourth quarter of 2021

The series of deficits since the onset of the pandemic has changed to a surplus in Q4 2021. With revenue of €31.1 billion and expenditure of €27.7 billion, quarter 4 saw a surplus of €3.5 billion. This surplus is an improvement of €5.2 billion on the same quarter in 2020, driven primarily by an increase in tax revenues of €5.6 billion. Expenditure is up €0.5 billion on the same quarter in 2020. The year to date comparison with 2020 shows an improvement of €11.0 billion in the deficit (Table 1.1), again driven by stronger tax receipts in 2021.

Expenditure on COVID-19 measures for Q4 2021 amounted to c.€2.4 billion, which was €1.6 billion than in Q4 2020. This reduction is mainly due to lower expenditure on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for Q4 2021, which reduced to €0.2 billion (€1.3 billion in Q4 2020).

This release includes seasonally adjusted figures for general government total expenditure, total revenue and the deficit/surplus (see Table 1.2). A comparison between the seasonally adjusted and non seasonally adjusted balance is shown in Fig 1.1. For details regarding the methodology used in producing the seasonally adjusted series, please see background notes.


Show Table: Table A COVID-19 Expenditure

GG BalanceSA GG Balance
Q1 2020-3.9-1.8
Q2 2020-6.8-7
Q3 2020-6.7-5.7
Q4 2020-1.8-4.9
Q1 2021-6.5-4.1
Q2 2021-2.5-2.6
Q3 2021-2.6-1.5
Q4 20213.5-0.6

General government debt at €235.9 billion at end of Q4 2021

The general government gross debt to GDP ratio was at 56.0% at the end of the quarter, down from 58.4% at the end of Q4 2020. This reduction was driven entirely by the increase in GDP as the overall debt was up by €18.0 billion in the same period. Over that same time frame the general government net debt to GDP ratio moved from 49.8% to 45.7%.

GG Gross DebtGG Net Debt
Q1 202058.848.9
Q2 202062.149
Q3 202061.249.2
Q4 202058.449.8
Q1 202160.650.3
Q2 202159.248.8
Q3 202157.747.3
Q4 20215645.7
Show Table: Table 1.2 General Government transactions: revenue, expenditure, financing and deficit

Government accounts are compiled in the EU according to the European System of National Accounts 2010 (ESA2010) framework.

Government Finance Statistics (GFS) quarterly results are benchmarked to the most recent EDP notification. Consequently, they may not always be fully aligned with the National Income and Expenditure (NIE) and related publications such as the Institutional Sector Accounts and the Quarterly National Accounts publications.

A full description of the concepts and definitions used in the production of these statistics is provided in the Background notes.    

Go to next chapter Non-Financial Accounts