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Budget Statement 2013

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Snippet Contents:

The increased demand on overall services is being met through reform of health structures, changing the way services are delivered and securing efficiencies and pay savings. The discussions on savings through an extension of the Croke Park agreement will be critical to meeting the funding needs of the services next year and beyond. Other measures, including efficiency and improved income collection, will yield savings of €150 million. My colleague, the Minister for Health, will announce details of the health funding and savings measures later this afternoon.
Education
The Department of Education and Skills estimates that next year will see over 20,000 additional pupils in primary and secondary schools, with a further 3,300 at third level. Gross education current expenditure will total just over €8.5 billion next year. Education and training will continue to be a priority of this Government and this is evidenced by the level of investment in this area at a time of such severe resource constraints. In particular, we will prioritise and protect, as far as practicable, the programmes that deliver the best results and meet the requirements of children, parents, the disadvantaged, the unemployed and the labour force. However, we cannot exclude the education sector from making the savings we have to make. Difficult choices have been made in areas like health and social protection. While bearing in mind demographic pressures in the coming years, we have had to take decisions to meet the budgetary parameters in education. We focused the savings measures on those areas where expenditure can be reduced without a significant impact on core education services.
We will increase the staffing schedule for fee paying schools next year by two points. We are reducing the allocation to VECs by €13 million in 2013. The VECs will be able to deliver the same level of service by managing from within both their Exchequer allocation next year and their resources.
The sick leave referral arrangements for teachers and special needs assistants, SNAs, will be made similar to those operating in the Civil Service. Changes will be made in respect of the income supports paid to new entrants to further education and training programmes.