HM Treasury and the Financial Crisis: Review

Read the critical review here and reflect on any lessons for the operation of the Irish department of finance.

IBRC Annual Report

The 2011 Annual Report for the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation has been released.  The Consolidated Income Statement and Consolidated Financial Position are reproduced below the fold though I would recommend looking at the relevant Note in the full report to get more insight on any particular figure.

2011 Census Results

Today the CSO begin their release of the detailed results (schedule) from last April’s Census with the publication of This is Ireland (Part 1)There is lots of information in the volume and here is just one table that reflects a point made in the press release.

I couldn’t see the equivalent 1996 numbers in a quick search and the category on “Being purchased from a Local Authority” was not used in the 2011 Census so the “Rented from Local Authority” figure is presumably the sum of earlier categories.  The “Rented from a Voluntary/Cooperative Body” first appeared in the 2006 Census and the initial number seems high. 

As the press release highlights the big change is in the number of households renting which increased from 300,000 to almost 475,000 over five years.  It can also be seen that around 35% of households have a mortgage.  There were 290,000 vacant units on Census night.

Accounting Devices and Fiscal Illusions

A new IMF Staff Discussion Note addresses the scope for creative accounting in obscuring fiscal positions – available here.

Wording of the Proposed Constitutional Amendment

I am surprised the release of the wording of the proposed amendment to the Constitution has not received more attention today.   Stephen Collins reports on the wording in a piece on the inside pages of the Irish Times.   From the article:

The amendment will involve the insertion of the following subsection after subsection 9° of article 29.4 of the Constitution.

The new subsection 10° will state: “The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.”

I just heard the normally excellent Stephen Donnelly say on RTE’s Drivetime programme that the amendment will put detailed fiscal rules in the Constitution.   My reading is that the purpose of the amendment is to ensure that the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Act that will establish the rules is not in violation of the Constitution.   The amendment does not put fiscal rules in the Constitution. 

The draft of the Treaty is available here.  The next piece of crucial information will come with the publication of the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Bill.   The referendum to ratify the amendment will take place on Thursday, May 31.