The Minister for Finance has said the Government would allocate €1 billion to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in 2020.

That would represent a 2% increase.

€10 million of that would go to a Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.

The Minister also announced a range of measures including greater flexibility for employees availing of the KEEP (Key Employee Engagement Fund).

The annual investment limit for the Employment and Investment Incentive will be increased to €250,000.

An annual investment limit of €500,000 will be introduced for those investors who are prepared to invest in EII for ten years or more.

Paschal Donohoe said the Research and Development tax credit would be increased from 25% to 30% for micro and small companies.

He also announced an increase to the limit to third level institutes of education from 5% to 15%.

The Minister said the Special Assignee Relief Programme and the Foreign Earnings Deduction would be extended until the end of 2022.

He also announced a relief from betting duty and betting intermediary duty up to a limit of €50,000 per year.

This measure, the Minister said, was in recognition of the difficulties faced by small independent bookmakers.

The farm restructuring relief programme is to be extended to the end of 2022, under Budget 2020 measures.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is to make available an initial €110 million in emergency support for "vulnerable but viable firms" in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The funds, announced today in Budget 2020 as part of a €1.2 billion Brexit package, will cover a number of schemes aimed at different sized businesses to mitigate against the effects of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation said it is "an initial tranche of funding" that will be available on day one in a no-deal scenario to support the businesses most impacted, with the government committed to providing further waves of financial support if required.

Heather Humphreys said the chances of a no-deal departure are high, given the ongoing political uncertainty in Britain.

And while she said it represented "an unprecedented challenge," she said Ireland has never been better placed to deal with a big economic shock like Brexit.

Minister Humphreys said she is satisfied there is sufficient funding in place to deal with the first shocks of a hard Brexit.

However, she said she hopes it won't be needed, because she doesn't want to see a no-deal Brexit.

"The funding is available, immediately €110 million and more if we need access to it," she added.

Minister Humphreys said "a huge amount of supports have been put in place already" and she said what has been announced today is for a worst-case scenario.

The schemes that would be activated by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on day one of a crash-out Brexit include a Rescue and Restructuring Fund of €42m.

It would be aimed at businesses that would need to radically restructure with investment support potentially of up to €10m. The funding would be provided in the form of equity or loans.

€45m would be made available under a Transition Fund. It would be targeted at businesses with 10 or more employees, through grants, equity and loan support of up to €1m to help them to adapt. 

A Transformation Fund, a grant scheme of €8m, would be used to support large indigenous firms to transform their businesses to develop new products and processes. €5m would be aimed at primary food processing companies and €3m for non-food companies.

Smaller businesses with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than €2m would be offered support through Micro Finance Ireland, which would have initial funds of €5m. It would enable MFI to lend money to micro enterprises from €25,000 to €50,000 over a 2 to 5 year period.

And an additional €2m would be immediately granted to InterTrade Ireland to support firms in the Border region, North and South.

Employers' group Ibec has broadly welcomed the measures announced today to help business deal with the uncertainty of Brexit.

It’s CEO Danny McCoy said the Government had "struck the right balance by focusing available resources on those measures which can help insulate the economy from external shocks by investing in critical infrastructure, preparing for Brexit, and improving supports for SMEs.

"A package of additional tax supports for SMEs through improvements to schemes such as the EIIS and the KEEP scheme for share options, while containing some very welcome elements, is limited in scale. On the other hand, changes to the R&D tax credit will have a more significant impact on SME take-up."

The Small Firms Association has criticised Budget 2020 for not being ambitious enough in relation to addressing the uncertainty amongst entrepreneurs in the context of Brexit.

The association's director Sven Spollen-Behrens said: "Even in a Budget with very limited room for manoeuvre, the Government has missed an opportunity to address the many issues facing entrepreneurs, which would assist them to plan, invest and grow their businesses.

"However, the combined supports in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit announced today are a welcomed move to address the challenges that will be faced by some vulnerable sectors in our economy."