Central Bank of Ireland publishes pre-Budget letter

05 September 2016 Press Release
  • To be published on an annual basis
  • Emphasises the need to take a long-term view of the economy
  • Cautions on temporary nature of some influences on revenue and expenditure, such as surging tax, Central Bank profits and low interest rates

The Central Bank’s mission is to safeguard financial stability and protect consumers. One way in which it contributes to the long term resilience of the financial system is by providing independent, robust and relevant economic advice. In line with these functions, the Governor’s letter to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in advance of the Budget has been published today. This promotes transparency and provides visibility for members of the Oireachtas and the wider public of the Central Bank’s view on various pre-Budget issues.  The Governor’s letter will be released in advance of the Budget in future years.

Governor Lane’s letter outlines the Central Bank’s views of the domestic and international macroeconomic environment and the financial system, in order to inform budgetary policy and fiscal strategy. 

The letter notes that it is essential to maintain a prudent fiscal strategy and that the establishment of long-term targets to act as an anchor for annual budgetary decisions would be beneficial. It further notes that, while the European fiscal framework prescribes a target ceiling for the stock of public debt, there are compelling reasons to develop a separate national target.

Governor Lane adds that it is important to differentiate between temporary and permanent influences on the trajectories for revenue and expenditure, noting that the recent surge in corporation tax revenue and Central Bank income are temporary features of the economy. On the expenditure side, while the low interest rate environment may currently limit debt servicing costs, interest rates will eventually normalize.

At a macroeconomic level, he states that the credit cycle remains subdued, which is reflected in the current zero value for the counter-cyclical capital buffer, a tool that can be used by the Central Bank to dampen excess credit growth. However, the results of the recent bank stress tests confirm that the financial system remains vulnerable in the event of a downturn in the international macrofinancial environment.

At a microeconomic level, Governor Lane says “any fiscal measures in support of the Government’s housing strategy should be sufficiently targeted to avoid material aggravation of current distortions in the residential property sector.”


The Governor of the Central Bank writes to the Minister for Finance in advance of the Budget annually. This is the first time that the submission has been published in advance of the Budget. Please view letter here.