09 December, 2009 - Minister O'Keeffe outlines key Budget measures in education as part of national recovery effort

'Task facing all sectors of society is to respond collectively to challenges facing our economy' - MinisterAs part of continuing Government efforts to stabilise the Exchequer position and build for economic recovery, the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD, today outlined details of the 2010 Budget for his Department.The gross allocation for the Department of Education and Science will be €8.888 billion.The measures introduced today account for a reduction of €603 million in overall gross expenditure compared with the 2009 Estimates Allocation in the Revised Estimates Volume.
That includes a general pay-related adjustment of €350 million in line with the Government decision to reduce public service pay rates.  Minister O'Keeffe said: 'I am pleased that frontline services in schools have been protected in this Budget and that we are continuing to invest significantly in our education sector.'I am providing €26 million to meet the cost of employing extra teachers in our schools in 2010 in line with the commitments agreed in the Renewed Programme for Government.  'Despite the very severe economic circumstances, we are prioritising the capital programme in education, with €794 million allocated for 2010.   'That figure includes a carry-over of €79 million from this year.'The competitive construction market means that we are continuing to get better output for less money, allowing us to sustain jobs and maximise the return for the Government's capital investment in education.'The budgetary adjustments are necessary as part of the Government's efforts to reduce overall public expenditure and stabilise the public finances.  'We all have to do more with less,' said Minister O'Keeffe.The provision for universities and institutes of technology will be reduced by 4pc - from €1.318 billion this year to €1.266 billion in 2010.Student maintenance grants will be reduced by 5pc - a move broadly in line with the drop in the cost of living and with reductions in other income maintenance payments.  'The savings measures are contributing to the Government's overall effort to reduce the Exchequer deficit while at the same time minimising disruption to frontline services in the education sector.'I believe we have adopted a balanced and proportionate approach in education in response to urgent Exchequer demands and as part of the wider national economic recovery effort.'The task facing all sectors of society, including those in the education community, is to respond collectively to the challenges facing our economy and to play their full part in the national recovery project in the interest of our country and our children,' said Minister O’Keeffe.ENDSNote: Please find attached a briefing note outlining the main details of today's Budget for the education sector in 2010.