Government will only borrow if it needs to for no-deal
The Minister for Finance has said €650m will be made available to support the Agriculture, Enterprise and Tourism sectors and to assist regions most impacted by a no-deal Brexit.
The money will be made available in the event of a no-deal.
€220 million of that would be deployed immediately.
From this, €110m will be made available for enterprises for the first wave of funding for targeted interventions to help “vulnerable but viable firms” adjust to a no deal Brexit.
Paschal Donohoe said the Government would only borrow money if it needs to intervene to protect the economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Delivering his budget speech, Mr Donohoe said the Government would not borrow money for other purposes.
He said support by way of grants, loans and equity investments would include a €45m transition fund.
Among the additional measures would be €5m to Micro Finance Ireland and €5m for a Local Enterprise Offices Emergency Brexit Fund.
€110m will be provided through the Department of Agriculture.
The minister said the provision of supports to the beef sector would be a priority as would supporting the fishing fleet.
€40m of funding would be provided to the tourism sector.
€365m would also be provided for extra Social Protection spending on the Live Register and related schemes.
Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters Association, said he cautiously welcomed the Budget measures to prepare the economy and business community for a potentially disastrous no-deal Brexit.
Mr McKeever said while he noted the Government’s budgetary constraints, he was concerned that the announcement of €110m for vulnerable, but viable, companies affected by a no-deal Brexit will not be enough.
“In this context, we are calling on the Minister for Finance and the Government to further clarify how today’s committed spending will be distributed between affected companies.
“There are serious concerns that a no-deal Brexit will lead to an immediate and accelerating deterioration in businesses’ credit profile and we are calling on the Government to clarify any measures to support and protect any such affected businesses,” Mr McKeever said.
The Irish Exporters CEO said he was worried about the small take up of the Brexit loan scheme so far, adding that more needs to be done to help companies understand, prepare for and mitigate the financial impact of a no-deal.
“The Irish Exporters Association calls on the Government to further engage in talks with the European Commission to investigate both national and EU-measures to support excessively affected businesses,” he added.
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