The Irish government on Tuesday unveiled its annual budget for 2021, announcing significant borrowing to support those most impacted by some of Europe's toughest COVID-19 restrictions, and to prepare for the threat of a no-trade-deal Brexit.
Here are some of the key measures:
* Establishment of a 3.4 billion euro ($4 billion) recovery fund to focus on infrastructure development, reskilling and retraining, and supporting investment and jobs.
* Value-added tax for the hospitality sector cut to 9% from 13.5% until end of 2021
* Grants of up to 5,000 euros per week for firms unable to open due to specific COVID-19 restrictions. Grants based on 2019 turnover will be available for the duration of regional restrictions
* Extra 4 billion euros in spending for health services, including provision of personal protective equipment and additional hospital beds
* 2.1 billion euros to be held in contingency for spending required in response to COVID-19
* Additional sector supports, including: 50 million euros for live entertainment; Arts Council funding increased by 50 million euros; 36 million euros in funding for Sport Ireland
* 5.2 billion euros provided to the housing department, up 773 million euros compared to 2020 and a record level of funding
* 500 million euros will be directed towards capital expenditure to facilitate construction of 9,500 new social housing units in 2021
* Government extends subsidy for first-time home buyers to the end of 2021
* Carbon tax to rise by 7.50 euros from 26 euros to 33.50 euros per tonne next year; 100 million euros of carbon tax revenues to be invested in energy efficiency
* 1 billion euro investment in public transport, with a focus on climate transition
* Total infrastructure investment by the state of over 10 billion euros for the first time, with investment focused on climate, healthcare, public housing, transport and education.
* New multi-annual capital funding for cross-border projects with Northern Ireland of 500 million euros over 5 years. (Reuters)