Brexit rules Budget 2020, Ulster’s loan sell-off and Google expands again

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In a Brexit-dominated Budget 2020 there were few winners – and many losers – given the Government’s reluctance to implement any reductions in personal income tax

In a Brexit-dominated Budget 2020 there were few winners – and many losers – given the Government's reluctance to implement any reductions in personal income tax.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe allocated €1.2 billion to tackle a no-deal Brexit which was the "central scenario" of the Government budget.

The budget included confirmation of hundreds of new teachers, 700 new gardaí and an additional 1,000 therapists and nurses. The Health budget now rises to a record €17.4 billion next year. There will also be extra home help hours and from September next year free GP care for children is being extended to under-8s.

There was the well-flagged rise in carbon tax, up €6 per tonne, which added 1.7 cent on a litre of petrol and 2 cent on a litre of diesel. It's the start of a decade-long strategy to raise the carbon tax to €80 per tonne.


The other big news on the motoring front was the introduction of a new charge on new cars and used imports based on a vehicle's NOx emissions. The new tax replaces the current 1 per cent diesel surcharge introduced last year and will particularly target older diesel imports.

Advocates for entrepreneurs gave a mixed reaction to measures contained in Budget 2020, writes Mark Paul. Increases to tax credits for the self-employed, as well as measures to help SMEs retain staff, were welcomed. However, the failure to increase tax relief for entrepreneurs on capital gains was criticised.

Away from the budget, Ulster Bank has agreed to sell €800 million of mortgages, mainly issued on family homes, to US distressed debt specialist CarVal Investors. The portfolio includes 2,800 owner-occupier loans with a face value of €715 million.

Newenham Mulligan, the architect company linked with the high-profile rebuilding of the RDS arena and the Curragh Racecourse stand, is being wound up. Barry O'Halloran reports.

He also has a story on how the State greyhound racing body, Bord na gCon, will spend €6 million from the controversial €23 million sale of Harold's Cross dog track in Dublin on boosting facilities at other stadia.

Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta claims to have stemmed the fall-off in revenue that has dogged the company for the past two years despite recording further declines at its troubled US arm.

Finally, in our commercial property coverage this week, Google is to increase its already-massive footprint yet again leasing more office space at Central Park in Sandyford, Dublin, with room for 50 additional workers. Also, just over one year on from Henley Bartra's purchase of Phoenix House in Dublin 8 for €8.5 million, it looks to be in line for a significant return, offering the property to the market at a guide price €16 million.

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer is Motoring Editor, Innovation Editor and an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times