Budget 2020 main points: Free GP care for under 8s, extra gardaí to be recruited

Free dental care for under 6s, Help-to-Buy extended, more SNAs and teachers to be hired

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe delivered his Budget 2020 speech on Tuesday. The overall budget day package is €2.9 billion. The Minister's full speech can be read here.

The following are the budget’s main elements and for more information click on each of the headings:

A Brexit package of €1.2 billion has been announced. In the event of a no-deal the following measures will be deployed:

€220 million will be deployed immediately.


€650 million for agriculture, enterprise and tourism sectors to assist the regions and populations most affected.

€85 million for beef farmers and €6 million for other livestock farmers and the mushroom sectors.

€14 million for the fishing industry.

€5 million for the food and drinks processing industry.

€365 million for extra social protection expenditure benefit.

€45million to assist people to transition to new work.

Climate change
The carbon tax is up €6 to €26 per tonne and applies from midnight tonight on auto fuels.

Other carbon tax changes to other fuels will come into effect in May 2020.

The 1 per cent diesel surcharge introduced last year will be replaced with a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions-based charge on a €/mg/km basis. The rate will increase in line with the level of nitrogen oxide emitted. It will apply to all passenger cars registering for the first time in the State from January 1st.

VRT relief for hybrid vehicles and benefit-in-kind zero rate on electric vehicles extended to 2020.

€8 million allocated to maintain grants for those buying electric cars.

€13 million for the warmer homes scheme to provide free energy efficiency upgrades to households deemed to be in or at risk of energy poverty.

Extra €5 million for peatland rehabilitation.

Health spending is up €1billion to €17.4 billion.

Free GP care for children under eight and free dental care for children under six from September.

One million additional home care hours are to be provided next year.

Prescription charges to be cut by 50 cent.

Monthly threshold for the drug payment scheme reduced by €10 per month.

Increase in medical card income thresholds for over 70s by €50 for a single person or €150 for a couple per week.

€25 million invested to reduce waiting lists.

Recruitment of up to 1,000 therapists, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Tax credit increases for home carers (by €100) and the self-employed (by €150).

Extension of reduced rate of USC for medical card holders to December 2020.

Inheritance tax threshold to increase from €320,000 to €335,000.

Over €11 billion will be provided to the Department of Education in 2020.

Over 150 new mainstream teaching posts to be created.

Investment of €1.9 billion in special education with 400 additional special needs teachers and over 1,000 additional special needs assistants to be hired.

Higher education: €60 million in additional funding will be made available in the coming year under a new five-year “human capital initiative”.

€74 million to increase workplace and employer-led training, boost apprenticeships numbers and help to address Brexit-related issues.

€94 million allocated to Department of Children including an increase in Tusla funding of over €29 million to reduce the amount of children in need of a social workers and address the cost pressures in private residential and foster care.

Funding for early learning and childcare will increase by €54 million.

Nearly €1billion  allocated to Department of Business.

€10 million of this will go towards the Disruptive Technologies Innovation fund.

Commercial stamp duty increases by 1.5 per cent to 7 per cent from midnight tonight.

No change to the Capital Gains Tax Entrepreneurial Relief.

Social welfare
Increase of €690 million for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

A €5 increase in living alone allowance.

Increase in qualified child payments by €3 for over-12s and €2 for under 12s.

Fuel allowance will increase by €2 per week.

100 per cent Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients in 2019.

€15 increase for the One Parent Family Payment income disregard and €10 for the Working Family Payment disregard.

Agriculture and rural economy
Additional €51 million for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and €17 million for the Department of Rural and Community Development.

€3 million to pilot new agri-environmental schemes in 2020 to help to reduce sector’s emissions.

The farm restructuring relief programme in its current form has been extended to the end of 2022.

Tourism and transport
€40 million for tourism specific initiatives plus extra support in event of no-deal Brexit.

Increase of €384 million to the Department of Transport to €2.7 billion which will include investment in the rural transport.

€3 million for additional electric vehicle charging points in rural areas and community charging points at apartment blocks and at taxi ranks.

Extra €80 million for housing assistance payment.

Help-to-Buy scheme in its current form extended to end of 2021.

Extra €20million has been allocated for homeless services

€1.1 billion to deliver over 11,000 new social homes in 2020. A further 12,000 units will be delivered in 2021.

€2 million in additional funding to the Residential Tenancies Board

50 cent increase on a packet of 20 cigarettes from midnight.There will be a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products.

Justice€81 million extra for gardaí to deliver up to 700 new recruits as well as extra civilian staff to enable a bump in front line policing.

Department of Defence budget will exceed €1 billion after it was granted an extra €32.3 million.

State’s defence budget will exceed €1 billion next year, after the Department of Defence was granted an extra €32.3 million in Budget 2020.

Capital spending across the justice sector is to increase by €70 million to €256 million.

Funding for the Irish Prison Service and the Court Service increases by €12 million.

€10 million to fund existing and new direct provision centres.

Overseas aid
Increase of €21million in overseas development assistance next year. Ireland will provide €837million in 2020 to be invested in less developed countries.

Rainy day fund
€1.5 billion will be transferred to the Government's rainy day fund.

Betting tax
Bookies will get €50,000 a-year relief from the 2 per cent tax levied on betting in the Republic.

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe is an Audience Editor with The Irish Times