Central to the Government’s preparation for Brexit is the prudent management of the public finances so as to ensure the economy remains competitive in the face of future economic headwinds. Since the UK referendum in 2016, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit. Measures being taken include balancing the books, reducing our debt burden, building up the Rainy Day Fund and continuing to invest in infrastructure.
Budget 2019 sets out a number of specific measures aimed at making Ireland Brexit ready, including the introduction of a longer-term loan scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme for terms of 8-10 years, to provide a longer-term scheme facility of up to €300 million to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment by business at competitive rates.
It also provides increased resources of €25 million across a range of Departments and Offices based on a Brexit central case scenario; a €71 million package for the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine and its agencies, Teagasc and Bord Bia; an increase of €14 million to the current allocation for the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation; €5 million for the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to enable it to continue to address the challenges posed by Brexit across a range of headings.
The economic and fiscal policies that we have pursued mean that the economy is now in a better position to weather the impacts of Brexit. The possibility of a no-deal Brexit has influenced policy decisions made in relation to the public finances in terms of our stated aim of balancing the books and investing in capital infrastructure.