Reacting to today’s Budget announcement, IFA President John Bryan said the cuts imposed by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and the extra taxes and PRSI changes will hit farmers hard, and will place further pressure on farm families who have already suffered a drop of 22% in their incomes this year.
He said, “Suckler and sheep farmers have an average income of €14,000, and some of them will inevitably be forced out of business, or onto Farm Assist, by the Minister’s decision to effectively close the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme and cut the Sheep Grassland Payment”.
The IFA President said the Minister’s decision to shut down the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme is a major blow to the beef sector and shows a lack of commitment to the Suckler Cow Herd. He said the payment cuts will result in limited uptake of the Beef Breeding Programme and Minister Coveney must re-visit this decision and re-affirm his commitment to maintaining the Suckler Cow Herd.
“The Disadvantaged Areas Scheme cut is another serious hit on farm incomes as it is an important support for low-income farmers. The Minister’s decision to cut the funding for the Sheep Grassland Scheme will dent the renewed confidence in the sector.”
He welcomed Minister Noonan’s decision to retain the main tax reliefs for agriculture, particularly his move to extend stock relief to all farm partnerships and improve land mobility by addressing the restrictive Capital Gains Tax rules for farm consolidation. However, the increase in the Capital Tax rate and the reduction in the CAT threshold will act as a disincentive to farm transfer and restructuring.
John Bryan said the changes to personal taxes and the introduction of the property tax will hit all families hard. On top of the cuts to the farm schemes, this Budget represents another disproportionate and unfair hit on farm families.