Focus on: Brexit (schmexit!)

Oct 09, 2018

Dubbed the “political, economic and diplomatic challenge of our generation”, not surprisingly Brexit featured several times in the Minister’s Budget speech. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit has clearly influenced decisions and several measures were introduced to ensure Ireland is ready to respond to the challenge.  Disappointingly, there was no change announced to VAT import rules to deal with the upfront VAT charge that traders will face when they import from the UK after Brexit.   Chartered Accountants Ireland has been calling for measures to alleviate this cash flow hit for the past 18 months.

In addition to specific measures to help the agriculture and food sector as well as the Rainy Day Fund, there were several other spending measures announced to help Ireland get ready for Brexit.

Additional Revenue staff to deal with customs

€110 million is being provided for Brexit measures across a number of Government departments. 270 additional staff will be hired by Revenue (estimated cost of €6 million) to support new customs measures that may be required after Brexit and there will also be expenditure on additional IT systems.  

Loan scheme for SMEs

A Future Growth Loan Scheme was announced for SMEs as well as businesses operating in the agriculture and food sector. The loans will be offered over a 7-10 year period and will cost €6 million.

Human capital initiative worth €300 million

A new ring-fenced funding line has been established within the National Training Fund to provide €300 million over a five year period 2020 – 2024 to reform the education provision by universities to ensure that flexible and blended learning is offered, and to enable graduates to be employable internationally in order to boost enterprise.

Other measures include:

  • Increased funding of €1.2 million was announced for the PEACE programme
  • Increased funding for Bord Bia to help support promotion and development work in the context of Brexit
  • Investment in food innovation facilities and in food companies by providing grant aid for capital investment
  • Additional investment in the Fisheries Harbours Centres
  • Resource Local Enterprise Offices to provide further supports to local enterprises