DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland presented a “no-deal Brexit” budget for 2020 on Tuesday, pledging 1.2 billion euros to keep firms afloat by allowing the state’s finances to return to deficit if Britain leaves the European Union without a transition arrangement. Following is a breakdown of areas where funding will be offered.
- Some 650 million euros will be made available to support the agriculture, enterprise and tourism sectors, the bulk of it in “a series of waves” as the impact on particular sectors and regions becomes clear in the initial weeks and months.
About 220 million euros of this package will be immediately deployed in a no-deal scenario, half for agriculture with 85 million given to beef farmers, 14 million for fisheries and 11 million for livestock farmers, the mushroom sector and the food and drinks processing industry.
The other half of the 650 million will go towards grants, loans and equity investment to help vulnerable but viable firms adjust to a no-deal outcome.
- Approximately 365 million euros will be set aside for extra social welfare payments in the event of job losses, with a further 45 million for workers in hard hit parts of the country – for example the border region – should that prove necessary.
Ireland’s finance department forecasts that employment will still grow in a disorderly Brexit but the pace will slow to 0.8% next year - or an extra 19,000 net jobs, from around 2.4% this year. It has warned that up to 80,000 jobs could be put directly at risk over the medium term as a result of a no deal.
- Deal or no deal, 200 million euros of additional spending will support increased staffing levels at relevant government departments and state agencies, upgrade infrastructure at ports and airports, and invest in IT and facilities management.
- Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that if the economic impact of a no deal proved more severe than forecast, he was prepared to use resources that would otherwise have been dedicated to the government’s Rainy Day Fund - a state contingency fund that now stands at 1.5 billion euros and can be deployed in the event of an adverse shock to the economy.
Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Padraic Halpin and Mark Heinrich