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Budget 2020: What measures take effect from today and what comes into effect next year?

A carbon tax hike and levy on cigarettes kicks in today while other measures kick in next year.

The carbon tax is set to push up the price of petrol and diesel for consumers today.
The carbon tax is set to push up the price of petrol and diesel for consumers today.
Image: Shutterstock/bunyarit

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe forewarned that yesterday’s budget would be delivered against the backdrop of a no-deal Brexit. 

During his speech in the Dáil chamber yesterday afternoon, Donohoe announced a package of budgetary measures, ranging from a carbon tax hike to the establishment of a Brexit fund for businesses. 

Much of the measures announced were well-flagged ahead of time but the timeline for when they would come into effect was not so clear. 

Now that all has been revealed, here’s an overview of what comes into effect today and what will kick in at a later date. 

Carbon tax

A hike in carbon tax was the one measure everyone was watching for, with the Government expected to step up to the mark when it comes to tackling climate change. 

An increase in the tax was originally floated ahead of last year’s budget but was dropped by the finance minister at the last minute. 

This year, however, Donohoe has opted to increase the carbon tax by €6 – from €20 per tonne of carbon to €26 per tonne – describing it as a “bold decision” in his budget speech.

The new tax rate kicked in at 12.01am this morning for autofuels, meaning the price of petrol and diesel is likely to have risen at pumps around the country. 

A carbon tax hike in other areas, such as home heating fuels, has been delayed until May 2020. 


As is customary at this stage, the price of cigarettes increased by 50c at midnight following the budget. 

It puts the price of a packet of cigarettes in the most popular price category at €13.50. There will also be a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. 

Alcohol escaped a price hike once again – there has been no increase on the excise duty paid on alcohol, as was the case in Budget 2019. 


The Christmas Bonus will be paid at a rate of 100% in December – the same rate that was paid last year. 

This was all but confirmed before the budget. The bonus was slashed during the economic crash but was incrementally restored in recent years. 


While the old reliable midnight budget increases have already taken effect, a number of other measures will be shelved until 1 January 2020. 

A €5 increase to the Living Alone Allowance will kick in from 1 January 2020 – one of a small handful of social welfare increases this year. 

A €15 increase in the weekly disregard for the One Parent Family payment will also kick in from 1 January 2020.

Another measure taking effect on this date will be the replacement of the 1% diesel surcharge with a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions-based charge

This surcharge will apply to all passenger cars registering for the first time from 1 January 2020. 

In his speech, Donohoe said “the surcharge reflects the detrimental effect of these emissions on our environment and will have a particular impact on older, more pollutant cars”. 

Changes to personal income taxation would normally come into effect on this date too, but this year the Government rolled back on the mooted income tax cuts in light of Brexit. 

Next year

The rest of the measures announced yesterday will be introduced at some point next year. 

In those measures, there will be a Brexit fund to the tune of €1.2 billion made available to businesses and other groups in a bid to mitigate against the fallout of Brexit. 

If there is a no-deal Brexit, €650 million will be provided for agriculture, enterprise and tourism. 

€110 million will be provided through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which will support fish and beef industries after Brexit. 

Specifically, that’s €85 million for beef farmers and €14 million for fisheries. The government also said that €6 million would be provided for livestock and mushroom farmers, with €5 for the food and drinks industry. 

Donohoe also announced 150 new mainstream teaching posts, and another 1,000 new special needs assistants (SNA), which will likely be available for the new school year next September. 

One for the kids – Donohoe announced free GP care for children under eight and free dental care for children under six from September 2020.

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