Q&A: Where will the €4bn National Recovery Plan funding be spent?

The government borrowed three-quarters of the €4bn, with the rest coming from the EU
Q&A: Where will the €4bn National Recovery Plan funding be spent?

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, launch the Economic Recovery Plan which will mainly focus on creating new jobs in the digital and green sectors. Photo: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

What was announced yesterday?

Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. An almost €4bn plan which includes new payments to businesses affected by Covid-19, an extension of personal welfare payments to those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic and a set of 16 investment projects and nine reform measures.

Where did the money come from?

Almost €1bn has been awarded to Ireland from the EU, and the plan for this money has been set out under three distinct priorities:

  • Advancing the green transition – €503 million
  • Accelerating and expanding digital reforms and transformation - €295 million
  • Social and economic recovery and job creation - €181 million 

The money being spent on the extra Covid supports, totalling almost €3bn, has been borrowed by the government, pushing Ireland into a further deficit, which the government says is necessary to create an economic recovery.

How will this money be invested in real terms?

The government says the key focus of the plan is to create new jobs in the digital and green sectors, with investment in small to large businesses, reskilling those who have lost their jobs, to making Ireland more carbon neutral.

These range from a €185.4m investment in suburban rail for Cork to support for Irish businesses to benefit from digitalisation.

€295 million in new digital grant schemes for businesses has been announced as have a number of eHealth initiatives, including community eHealth solutions, and high-speed broadband connectivity for over 1,100 primary schools.

With regard to our green targets, €503 million will be spent on a low-cost residential retrofit loan scheme through the use of loan guarantees, supports for Irish SMEs and exporters to address their emissions, and an enhanced rehabilitation of 33,000 hectares of former industrial peatlands owned by Bord Na Móna.

What changes can I expect to see?

If you are currently on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, your rate will be cut by €50, from €300 to €250, €250 to €203 and those on the lowest €203 rate will move on to the Jobseeker's benefit. The PUP will end for good in February.

If you are a business owner, The Covid Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS) in its current form will be continued to the end of 2021.

The Government will also provide for an enhanced restart week payment – a single payment of three double weeks to businesses upon re-opening (subject to a maximum of €30,000).

As the economy re-opens, a new scheme is being introduced for vulnerable but viable businesses, particularly in sectors that were significantly impacted throughout the pandemic, even during periods when restrictions were eased.

Businesses whose turnover is reduced by 75% in the reference period (1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021) compared with 2019 will be eligible. The scheme will not be restricted by location, rate paying or physical premises.

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