The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Social protection takes up nearly one-third of government expenditure in 2016 – NSO

Tuesday, 30 January 2018, 11:16 Last update: about 4 years ago

In 2016, social protection remained the core expenditure sector representing 31.6 per cent of total general government expenditure, followed by general public services, health and education, the NSO said today.

Total general government expenditure decreased by €39.6 million over 2015, amounting to €3,779.5 million. This fall in total expenditure was primarily due to the closure of the EU Funds programming period 2007-2013 in 2015. Social protection remains the largest share of expenditure for General Government with an increase of €46.9 million, amounting to €1,194.6 million, particularly due to expenditure on pensions, children’s allowance and child care expenditure.

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The same holds for health expenditure (€555.8 million), mainly on account of higher spending on hospital services, and for Education expenditure, which went up by €23.8 million. On the other hand, Environment Protection has witnessed the largest drop amongst all expenditure functions, with a decline of €86.4 million over 2015, followed by Economic affairs which registered a decline in expenditure of €18.4 million and Defence (€17.1 million).

For 2016 the total expenditure for each function as a percentage of total General Government expenditure was generally in line with previous years. The highest share of total government expenditure was devoted to Social protection (31.6 per cent), increasing by 1.5 percentage points in 2016. This was followed by General public services (16.7 per cent), Health (14.7 per cent) and Education (14.1 per cent).

On the contrary, expenditure on Housing and community amenities had the lowest contribution to total expenditure, followed by Defence representing 0.7 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively. Environment protection expenditure as a percentage of total General Government expenditure declined by 2.2 percentage points over 2015.

In 2016 General Government expenditure as a percentage of GDP has decreased to 38.1 per cent from 41.2 per cent in 2015.

Similarly to the previous 4 years, when considering General Government data by function, a considerable share of government expenses was allocated to wages and salaries (31.3 per cent), social benefits in cash or in kind (28.7 per cent) and intermediate consumption (16.8 per cent).

For 2016, the largest contribution of government expenditure went towards Old age (€735.4 million), mainly through pension payments, which represented 61.6 per cent of total spending on Social Protection and 19.5 per cent of total General Government expenditure. This was followed by Hospital services (€364.2 million), which makes 65.5 per cent of total expenditure on health. Also, a considerable share of government expenditure was registered on Executive and legislative organs, financial, fiscal and external affairs (€288.7 million), which was followed by a total of €220.1 million on public debt transactions.

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