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#Budget2020: The main points from today’s Budget

    Budget 2020 Main Points:

  • €1.2bn package to cope with a no-deal Brexit.
  • Carbon tax to rise by €6, from €20 per tonne to €26, meaning petrol and diesel will increase from midnight tonight.
  • The threshold for medical card income for people over the age of 70 will increase by €50 for one person or €150 for a couple.
  • Prescription charges for over-70s cut by 50c, to €1.
  • Free dental care for under sixes and free GP care for under eights, delayed to September 2020.
  • Cap on a family’s monthly drugs payment scheme reduced by €10, to €114.
  • The help-to-buy scheme will be extended until 2021.
  • €1.1bn will support the building of 11,000 social houses in 2020, and a further 12,000 will be built in 2021.
  • The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes is to go up by 50c from midnight.

The Department of Finance has published an explainer document covering today's Budget: 'A Citizen’s Guide to Budget 2020'.

Carbon tax

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced a carbon tax increase of €6, rising from €20 per tonne to €26.

The increase will apply to petrol from midnight tonight but other fuels will be delayed until May 2020 after the winter-heating season.

Carbon tax will rise to meet a target of €80 per tonne by 2030, raising an additional €6bn.

The increase will collect €90m for the exchequer in 2020, some of which will be used for a package targeted at the Midlands region, amid Bord na Móna job fears.

There will be €20m for a new energy efficiency scheme targeted initially at social housing stock in the region, €5m for peatland rehabilitation, and €6m for a just transition fund.

Midlands investment will support 400 environmentally sustainable jobs with 100 more through peatlands rehabilitation, according to the Minister.


Current spending on health will increase by 6.3% to €17.4bn next year.

The Government is to spend another €25m on the National Treatment Purchase Fund to help reduce waiting lists.

Prescription charges are to be reduced by 50c.

The monthly threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme is being reduced by €10 a month, to €114.

Medical cards

The threshold for medical card income for people over the age of 70 will increase by €50 (to €550) for one person or €150 (to €1,050) for a couple.

This will benefit up to 56,000 people.

Free GP and dental care

Free GP care is to be expanded to children under the age of eight and free dental care to children under the age of six.

Housing and homelessness

€1.1bn will support the building of 11,000 social houses in 2020, and a further 12,000 will be built in 2021.

€80m will go towards for HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) payments.

An extra €20m for homeless services will bring their budget to €166m.

There's 17.5m for the Land Development Agency and €186m for the serviced site fund and affordable housing, plus €130m for an urban regeneration fund.

€2m in additional funding will be used to step up the powers of the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board).

The help-to-buy scheme will be extended until 2021.

The rate of stamp duty applicable to non-residential property will increase 1.5% at midnight, from 6% to 7.5%.

Social welfare

The social welfare package will increase by €690m next year.

Mr Donohoe confirmed the payment of a 100% Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients in 2019.

The Living Alone allowance will increase by €5, while the One Parent Family payment will go up by €15.

There will be an increase in the qualified child payment by a further €3 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s.

The fuel allowance will increase by €2 a week.

€13m will be provided for the Warmer Homes scheme to mitigate the effect of the carbon tax on those experiencing fuel poverty.


    Minister Donohoe announced a package of more than €1.2bn, excluding EU funding, for Ireland to respond to a no-deal Brexit.

    €200m of this expenditure for next year will be used to increase staffing across government departments, and to upgrade ports and airports.

    A fund of €650m will go to support the agriculture, enterprise, and tourism sectors in the case of no-deal. €220m will be deployed immediately.

    There will be a €110 fund for businesses, including:

  • €45m transition fund
  • €42m rescue and restructuring fund
  • €8m transformation fund for food and non food businesses
  • €5m for Micro Finance Ireland
  • €5m for LEO Brexit Fund
  • €2m for Intertrade Ireland
  • €3m for regulatory bodies
  • Beef farmers will receive €85m in no-deal Brexit supports and €14m will go towards fisheries. There will be €6m for livestock farmers and the mushroom sector, and €5m for food and drinks processing.

    €365m will go into Social Protection expenditure for those on the live register and €45m for people to transition to new jobs after a potential no-deal Brexit.


    Farm restructuring relief will be extended until 2022.

    The Government is investing €2bn in rural Ireland next year, including €51m more for the Department of Agriculture.

    €3m will go to pilot new agri-environmental schemes in 2020 to reduce emissions in the sector.

    Business schemes

    Nearly €1bn will go to the Department of Business, including €10m for a disruptive technologies fund and €600m for a Brexit loan and growth scheme.

    Minister Donohoe will increase the R&D (research and development) tax credit for small and micro companies from 25% to 30%.

    There's an increase to the qualifying production cap for microbreweries from 40,000 to 50,000 hectolitres, and a relief for small independent bookmakers up to €50,000 a year from the betting duty.

    Rainy-day fund

    €1.5bn will be transferred into the 'Rainy day fund' from Ireland's Strategic Investment Fund.

    The additional €500m from the exchequer will not be transferred this year, Mr Donohoe decided.


The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes is to go up by 50c from midnight.

“This will bring the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €13.50,” Mr Donohoe said.

Emissions-based charge on new cars

The 1% diesel surcharge will be replaced by a nitrogen oxide emissions-based charge. It will apply to all new cars registered from January 1, 2020.

The Minister also announced:

  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) to have environmental rationale for commercial vehicles from 2023
  • Extend BIK zero rate on electric cars to 2022
  • Extend VRT relief on hybrids to 2020
  • Diesel rebate scheme for hauliers to compensate for fuel cost increases.


There will be no across the board tax cuts.

Minister Donohoe announced:

– An increase in Home Carer Tax Credit of €100, bringing the value up to €1,600.

– For the self-employed, an increase in Earned Income Credit by €150, to bring the value to €1,500.

Both increases will cost an additional €27m in 2020.

– An extension of the reduced rate of USC for medical card holders for a further year to December 2020.

There will be an increase to the Dividend Witholding Tax from 20% to 25% from January 1, 2020.

The banking levy will increase from 59% to 170%.

The tax-free threshold for inheritance tax was raised by €15,000 to €335,000.

New measures will be announced to prevent aggressive tax avoidance by Irish Real Estate Funds.


An Garda Síochána will see its budget increased by €81m in 2020, a 4.7% increase.

This will deliver up to 700 new Garda recruits, and extra civilian staff to allow for more frontline policing.

The broader justice sector will receive an extra €38m, an increase of approximately 4.8%, to fund increasing costs in Direct Provision and greater levels of activity in Courts and Prison services.

An allocation of €265m will support capital projects in a new Forensic Science Laboratory, the redevelopment of Limerick Prison and new Garda offices in Harcourt Square in Dublin.

An extra €32m will go to the Defence Forces.


Education will receive €11bn in next year’s budget, the highest ever allocation to the sector.

This will provide for 150 new mainstream teaching posts, and includes an investment of €1.9m in special education – providing over 400 additional teaching posts to support those with special education needs, and 1,000 special needs assistants.

Additional funding will be made available for school books in primary schools.


The department of Children will be allocated an additional €94m in 2020.

The allocation for Tusla will be over €184m to support the reduction of the number of children to social worker ratio, and address cost pressures in private residential and foster care.

Funding and early learning care will increase by €54m, to support full participation of children with disabilities under the Access and Inclusion Model, and to support the National Childcare Scheme.


A large increase of €384m will go to the Department of Transport, taking its total budget to €2.7bn.

€9m will go to sustainable mobility projects like greenways and urban cycling projects.

There's €3m for electric car infrastructure, which will double the number of local authority on-street charge points. A new scheme will be introduced for communal charge points in apartment blocks and the roll-out of fast-charging points at taxi ranks.

€8m goes to the Department of Communications for the retention of grants to buy electric cars.


Minister Donohoe has pledged €40m for tourism specific initiatives in 2020.

Overseas aid

There will be a €21m increase in overseas aid, to €837m in 2020.

Civil service

The civil service will examine the location of offices, and if and where they could move out of Dublin to ensure balanced regional development.

€2.9bn budget

Minister Donohoe confirmed tax measures will raise €300m, meaning a total budget package of €2.9bn.

He said a significant reduction in supplementary estimates was needed to bail out overspending departments.

Growth forecast

Mr Donohoe said today's budget is one "without precedent", balancing the management of national services with the risks of Brexit and climate change.

He said no-deal is the "central assumption" of today's plans, which will mean a slower pace of growth.

A surplus of 0.2% is projected for this year if a Brexit deal is agreed. A no-deal Brexit, however, will see the surplus swing to a deficit of 0.6% for next year.

Mr Donohoe said 19,000 new jobs are forecast to be created next year, although Brexit risks could reduce this number.