Speaking after a specially convened meeting of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Associations (INHFA) national council to analyse the budget,national President Colm O’Donnell stated ” that the Government had failed to deliver on certain promises made in the agreed program for Government.
Commitments such as equality for all earned income tax credit rates for the self employed as against employees and an underspend of 5 million in the Sheep welfare scheme were both breaches of targets set by Oireachtas members for budget 2018.”
While Mr. O Donnell expressed a warm welcome for the 1.5 million funding towards the rural innovation fund to support Female Rural Entrepreneurs,social farming and agri food initiatives (CEDRA) he added that the seperate 25 million euro Brexit loan scheme for the agri food sector was helpful but not enough.
The INHFA President continued by “asking Minister Creed to clarify whether or not Agricultural land was exempted from the increase in commercial property stamp duty from 2 per cent to 6 per cent.It is unacceptable that where family farms are being transferred from one generation to the next or indeed where young farmers have started Green Cert courses but have not yet completed them find themselves discriminated against overnight.”
Mr. O Donnell concluded by welcoming the additional 25 million euro for the 2018 ANC Scheme and pointed out that Minister Creed must use this additional funding to address the current imbalance in the methodology used in calculating the level of payment rates for the different categories within the scheme.Currently these rates are set using CSO standard output figures per hectare which sees Mountain type land and Lowland more severely type land paid at the same level even though their is the massive dissparity of €670 per hectare in standard output.This legitimises the INHFA call, to target the money to the lands with the highest level of Natural Constraint.