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The Irish Facility for Policy Costings : Whitehall in Year Five of the UK Coalition: Lessons from Elsewhere

This case study examines how the costing facility operates in a run up to an Irish election.

Coalition government has become the norm in Ireland. This means that in the run-up to an election there can be a large number of parties with a chance of holding power when the new government is formed.

In this context, it is important that all parties can have their policy plans tested for affordability. The Department of Finance provides such a facility, with all parties able to submit policies for assessment by officials, enabling parties to refine policies and be more confident about the financial feasibility of their plans.

Parties are able to submit policy proposals for costing at three points in the political calendar:

  • in the months preceding a general election
  • during the annual Budget process
  • during the negotiation of a Programme for Government after the election.

This case study examines how the costing facility operates at these different points (though our focus is on the pre-election period), how parties make use of the facility, what lessons can be drawn and what relevance the Irish experience may hold for the UK.

Institute for Government

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