€1.2 billion package to deal with Brexit – Donohoe
The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has today announced an overall package of over €1.2 billion to respond to the threat of a no deal Brexit.
Delivering Budget 2020 in the Dáil, Mr Donohoe said some of these funds will be spread across a number of departments and agencies to increase the level of staffing, upgrade port and airport facilities and invest in information technology.
Mr Donohoe has said that Brexit is the most pressing and immediate risk to the economy and today’s Budget has been influenced by the increasing likelihood of a no deal scenario.
The Minister said today’s budget was without precedent and the economy is poised at a point between the twin risks of overheating and Brexit.
Mr Donohoe said a no deal Brexit will mean a slower pace of growth here.
He said that while employment growth will slow, the economy can still expect an extra 19,000 new jobs to be created next year.
An increase in tax revenue is also in prospect for 2020.
But he added that the rate at which new jobs may be created could put pressure on tax revenues.
“The Government is clear about the challenges posed by Brexit,” the Minister stated.
The Minister said the Government had been preparing for Brexit since the UK referendum in 2016 and so far it has enhanced capacity at the country’s ports and airports.
It has also provided training and financial supports to increase the country’s customs capacity and recruited 750 new staff in key areas.
Mr Donohoe also said the Government had made €600m available through the Future Growth Loan Scheme and Brexit Loan Scheme.
The Minister told the Dáil that while a no-deal Brexit is not definite, the Government stands ready if it does happen.
He said the Government has eliminated the deficit and are projecting a surplus of 0.2% of GDP.
“In the event that the UK leaves the EU with an agreement, we will continue to build on this surplus. And in the event of a no deal, we will intervene in a sustained and meaningful way to support jobs and the economy,” the Finance Minister said.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime Mr Donohoe said: “Where we are with Brexit constrains us from doing other things that you would normally expect to do at Budget time but my attitude is that we have to be proactive about choices and decisions that we’re going to make to ensure that we can strongly manage what we can control because there are other things we won’t be able to control.
“So it’s because of this that we decided to put together a Budget on the basis of a no deal Brexit being the most likely scenario and unfortunately I think events of only today show that that was the right decision to take.”
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