State to borrow €650m for no-deal Brexit fighting fund
Budget 2020: Overall war chest of €1.2bn earmarked for expenditure around UK’s exit
Some of the €40 million for tourism will be used to advertise in Britain key attractions like the Cliffs of Moher .
A €650 million fund will be made immediately available to prop up the agriculture, enterprise and tourism sectors in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has announced as part of Budget 2020.
The funds will come from an overall no-deal Brexit war chest of about €1 billion, some of which will be held back. A further €200 million will be spent on Brexit preparation next year, including ports, even if there is a deal.
The Minister said the funding, to be spread across a range of sectors in the form of grants, loans and capital funding, would be borrowed and deployed only if Britain exits from the European Union without a deal.
About €220 million of the funding would be “deployed immediately” in the event of no-deal Brexit, the Minister said. The “first wave of funding” of €110 million would focus on helping businesses in food, manufacturing and internationally traded services.
The no-deal measures would include a €45 million “transition fund”, €42 million for “rescue and restructuring” and €8 million set aside for a “transformation fund” for food and non-food businesses.
An additional €5 million each would be made available for Micro Finance Ireland and Local Enterprise Offices, as well as €2 million for cross-Border trade body Intertrade Ireland and €3 million for business regulators.
About €110 million of the no-deal supports would be deployed through the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, including €85 million for beef farmers and €14 million for fisheries.
In addition, the no-deal fighting fund would also see €40 million set aside to mitigate the effects on the tourism sector. The Minister reiterated the sector had been performing at “record” levels, but he stressed he understood the concerns in the industry about the potential impact of a no-deal.
The €40 million for tourism would include supports for the Border regions; extra funding for Tourism Ireland to advertise the State’s tourism offerings in Britain; and an unspecified allocation for Fáilte Ireland to support indigenous tourism businesses through a “Brexit response programme”.
The Minister said €390 million of no-deal funding would be held back and its spending targets decided “closer to the time”.