HAI was pleased with the Minister’s decision to extend the Help to Buy Scheme to the end of 2021, and the additional funding and grants released to encourage retrofitting of homes under the Climate Action Plan. We also welcome the broad range of Brexit support services and packages made available to business owners. We have compiled a catalogue of this growing suite of services here.
Below is a summary of key findings we identified from this year’s Budget, based on our own submission:
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D., in a press conference on the same day of the Budget, announced that as part of Budget 2020 an allocation of €146m will be used to upgrade 24,000 homes and businesses. A new Retrofitting model has reportedly been developed to deliver upgrades to large groups of houses at the same time to drive down cost, develop easy pay back mechanisms making the works easier and more affordable. This work is scheduled to commence in 2020 with a programme targeting social houses in the Midlands.
A total of €52.8 million is also being made available to retrofit the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty through the Warmer Homes Scheme.
2. Home Renovation Incentive Scheme
We were disappointed in the Government’s decision to not reinstate the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme, after over €2.4 billion had been spend on home renovations since the commencement of the scheme, providing tax revenue to the Exchequer.
3. Stimulate Housebuilding and the Renovation of Property
This year’s Budget announced “an unprecedented level of funding” of €2.5 billion to the Housing Programme in 2020. This, according to the Minister’s address, includes an allocation of over €1.1 billion to build over 11,000 new social homes next year with a further 12,000 units planned for 2021.
We were pleased with the decision to extend the Help-to-Buy scheme in its current form for a further two years until the end of 2021, which we recommended in our Pre-Budget Submission.
4. Upskilling of the Sector
€1 billion has been allocated to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in 2020 – a 2% increase from last year, and €10 million will be allocated to a Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.
We hope that this funding will be attributed to further training support in the sector.
5. Special Consideration for the Timber Sector in Brexit Negotiations
While there was no specific mention of the Timber Sector an additional €51 million was announced for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, along with a further €17 million for the Department of Rural and Community Development. We hope this will be used to support the Timber Sector (and the €2.6bn and 12,000 full time rural jobs it contributes) in Brexit challenges such as increased tariffs, volatility of export markets and customs controls
6. Introduce Voucher Scheme for Winter Fuel Allowance
With the target of increasing the price of carbon to € 80 per tonne by 2030, raising an additional €6 billion, it was decided to instate a €6 increase towards the 2030 target – which will apply from midnight for auto fuels. We support the decision to delay the price increase on other fuels (solid fuels, gas) until May 2020, after the completion of the Winter Fuel season.
This increase will be accompanied with increased resources for Revenue and An Garda Siochana to prevent increase of cross-border smuggling, according to the Government.
Further information about Budget 2020 can be found in the following links: