The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have expressed major disappointment on the budget details outlined by Ministers Donohoe and McGrath.
Commenting on the budget National President Vincent Roddy stated “how farmers will rightly question the Government’s commitment to a just transition on climate change and biodiversity loss when assessed against commitments made across other sectors.”
In the budget Minister McGrath detailed an increase in core spending of €4.2billion for the coming year with both Ministers emphasising the major challenge posed by Climate Change and Biodiversity loss and outlined a budget increase of €858m to address this.
Of this €858m increase there is stated Roddy “a commitment of an additional €152m for a just transition but is seems that none of this will go towards farming even though a lot of the heavy lifting will be left on the shoulders of farmers.”
There is he continued “already a compelling case for a just transition to be made for the many farmers operating under the burden of land designations (SAC & SPA). These designations have been assessed at EU level to cost these farmers €150/ha/year in terms of lost productivity and increased regulation.”
This stated the INHFA President “was a major factor in our budget proposals where we outlined the need for an annual budget of €120m to ensure a just transition for these farmers. The fact that this continues to be ignored isn’t just an issue for the farmers concerned but should stand as a warning to all farmers as we face increasing demands in meeting national obligations on climate change and biodiversity loss.”
On other budget related issues Roddy welcomed the continuation of stamp duty and stock relief for young farmers but expressed concern with the decision to reduce the flat rate farmers vat from 5.6% to 5.5% a decision that will cost farmers €5.8m.
With regard to the roll-over of all current schemes the INHFA leader stated that “while expected, he had hoped that additional supports would have been put in place for our suckler and sheep sectors.”
In concluding he reiterated his disappointment that such a high spending budget couldn’t deliver anything new or significant to our farming communities.