Budget 2019 is ‘some acknowledgment’ of the recent income difficulties in farming, but more still needs to be done, according to the president of the Irish Farmers Association.
Joe Healy said that, while there is some acknowledgment, the upcoming major issues of Brexit and CAP will require much more Government commitment and support for farming.
Speaking on the association's website, Healy welcomed the funding of €20 million through a pilot scheme for suckler farmers, but expressed his disappointment at the level of funding, saying that there needs to be more to help sustain the suckler herd.
He also welcomed the increase ANC funding of €22.7 million, but said that the farmers' representative group will continue to lobby for increased funding to take the mark up to €300 million - currently, it sits at 250 million.
Healy continued by saying the €200 increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,350 does not go far enough either.
“The Government continues to discriminate between employees and the self-employed in the income tax system,” he said.
“It is simply not right that a farmer earning €16,500 will be paying €300 a year more in income tax than a PAYE employee next year. The Government has reneged on a clear commitment in the Programme for Government that they would reach parity, of €1,650, by 2018.”
The IFA President welcomed the extension on income averaging to include farm families with an alternative self-employed income, as well as the extra €2 million for the Walks Scheme.
Policy & Trade Issues
In response to Brexit, Healy commented that the Brexit loan scheme ‘appears to be the same scheme announced in last year’s Budget’.
“We are skeptical about the merits of the new scheme as it is not available for working capital. Because the scheme is open to SMEs, it is questionable how much of it farmers will benefit from,” he said.
“The medium-term outlook for agriculture is very uncertain given policy and trade issues. The Budget has not adequately recognised this and farmers will need more support to deal with these uncertainties.”
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.