Budget 2020: All you need to know 1 week ago

Budget 2020: All you need to know

A quick rundown of some of the main points...

Having promised "absolutely no surprises", Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has delivered Budget 2020 (see details below).

Officially unveiled in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday afternoon, Donohoe introduced "a budget without precedent" that addresses domestic issues in addition to climate emergency.

"These are also times without precedent and as we respond, we do so with the resources of a well-run economy and the purpose and certainty of good government and responsible politics," Donohoe added, noting that the Budget was constructed "in the shadow of Brexit."

Donohoe stressed that the Budget was not created specifically in line with a no-deal Brexit, but it will nonetheless "meet the challenge of a no-deal Brexit from a position of strength" should that eventuality come to pass.

"We stand ready to act," the Minister stated, later contending that Brexit represents the most potentially harmful threat to the Irish economy.

In relation, Donohoe promised that Ireland will "intervene" to protect jobs and the economy. He announced a two-part package of over €1.2 billion, excluding EU funding, to tackle a no-deal Brexit.

Donohoe also referred to climate change as Ireland's "defining challenge", raising carbon tax in response, aiming to create an additonal €6 billion in order to decarbonise the economy "while protecting the most vulnerable from the increases in living costs associated".

Here are some of the key points from Budget 2020:

Housing

  • €2.5 billion allocated to housing in 2020
  • Additional €20 million for homeless services
  • Capital funding of over €1.1 billion allocated to the delivery of over 11,000 new social homes in 2020
  • Another 12,000 social housing units to follow in 2021
  • Extra €80 million for Housing Assistance Payment
  • Additional €17.5 million provided to Land Development Agency, €186 million provided for the Serviced Site Fund and Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund in 2020
  • €130 million of investment made available for urban generation and redevelopment funding "for the rejuvenation of our major cities and other large towns"
  • Almost €2 million in additional funding to Residential Tenancies Board to support increased powers and investigate and sanction non-compliance
  • Stamp Duty raised by 1.5% on non-residential property
  • Help to Buy scheme extended in current form until end of 2021

Health

  • Overall expenditure increase of €1 billion / 6.3%
  • Additional €25 million for National Treatment Purchase Fund
  • Prescription charges for all persons reduced by 50 cent
  • Drug Payment Scheme reduced by €10 per month
  • Medical Card income thresholds increased for people over 70 by €50 for a single person / €150 for a couple per week, benefitting up to 56,000 people
  •  From September, government aims to expand free GP care to children under 8 and free dental care for children under 6
  • One million additional home care hours to be provided in 2020

Cigarettes

  • Excise on a pack of 20 cigarettes raised by 50 cents
  • Pro-rata increase on tobacco products

Alcohol

  • No change on price of alcohol

Employment

  • Earned Income Credit for self-employed increased by €150, value raised to €1,500
  • Home Carer Credit increased, value of credit raised to €1,600
  • Extension of reduced rate of USC for medical card holders until end of 2020

Social Welfare

  • Increase of €690m in 2020 for the Department of Social Welfare
  • 100% Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients in 2019
  • €15 increase for the One Parent Family Payment
  • Increase in Qualified Child Payment by a further €3 for over 12s / €2 for under 12s

Education

  • €11 billion provided to Department of Education and Skills in 2020
  • 150 new mainstream teaching posts in schools
  • €1.9 billion investment in special education
  • 400 additional posts in support of special educational needs
  • 1,000 additional special needs assistants to be hired

 Climate Action Plan

  • Planned increase on price of carbon from €20 to €80 per tonne by 2030
  • Carbon tax raised by €6 per tonne
  • Carbon tax change applies to auto fuels - approx 2c extra per litre on petrol and diesel - effective from midnight Wednesday
  • Application to other fuels delayed until May 2020
  • 1% diesel surcharge introduced last year replaced with nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions-based charge applying to all passenger cars from 1 January 2020
  • €5 million for peatland rehabilitation (250% increase in budget)
  • Ireland to double annual contribution to Green Climate Fund
  • €2.7 billion allocated to Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport - increase of €384 million and will include investment in Rural Transport Network
  • €9 million for sustainable mobility projects eg: greenways, urban cycling projects
  • €3 million for additional electrical vehicle infrastructure
  • €8 million for grants to purchase electric cars

€1.2 billion package in response to no-deal Brexit

  • €200 million in Brexit spend available in 2020
  • €650 million for Agriculture, Enterprise and Tourism sectors if no-deal
  • €40 million for Tourism
  • €385 million extra for unemployment benefit in the event of no-deal Brexit
  • €45 million to assist jobseekers

€110 million no deal fund for Department of Agriculture

  • €85 million to beef farmers / €14 to fisheries
  • €6 million for other livestock farmers / mushroom sector
  • €5 million for food and drinks processing

Food, manufacturing and services sector

  • €45 million transition fund
  • €42 million rescue and restructuring fund
  • €8 million transformation fund for food and non-food businesses
  • €5 million extra for micro finance Ireland
  • €5 million for a local enterprise offices emergency Brexit fund
  • €2m extra for InterTradeIreland
  • €3m extra for regulatory bodies

"We have shown that the centre of Irish politics can not only hold, but can change," Donohoe announced, before finally, officially presenting Budget 2020 to those gathered in the Dáil.