Yesterday, the largest cash-injection in the history of the state was published when details of the much-anticipated July Stimulus Package were announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin. The package, which is hoped to insulate the economy from the full economic calamity of the pandemic, provides €5 billion in cash and €2 billion in loan guarantees. Funded by exchequer borrowing, the package will see the budget deficit swell to €30 billion.
The package includes fifty individual measures designed to reinvigorate the economy. Some of these include a reduction of the normal VAT rate of 23% to 21%, which will happen from September until February next year, and an expansion of the help-to-buy scheme that will see a €10,000 increase in tax relief for homebuyers up to to €30,000. The government’s recommendations of holidaying in Ireland have been supplemented by the package with a ‘Staycation Stimulus’. This allows those who spend €625 holidaying in Ireland to claim an income tax return of €125. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be extended until next April, though rates will be cut from September and the payment will be unavailable to new applicants from then onward. There will be a new top rate of €300 a week, a middle rate of €250, and the basic €203 per week rate. The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will continue until next March but will be brought under a new scheme to be announced in September. As well as this, a variety of training and employment grants are available for individuals and businesses, along with initiatives to hire apprentices. In keeping with the green direction of the government, the cycle to work scheme is to be extended, along with significant investment in cycling and walking infrastructure. The arts and tourism sectors will both receive €10 million in stimulus aid respectively.