Budget a test of Minister’s commitment to Agriculture – Downey

IFA President Eddie Downey has said that the ongoing negotiations at Cabinet for this October’s Budget represent a real test of Minister Coveney’s commitment to the development of the agriculture sector.

Farmers can expect a very good budget this year, according to recent comments from the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney, who said that up to 10 tax changes that will benefit them.

Speaking at an event to mark the official start of construction to the new Dairygold site in Mallow, the Minister said that he could remember budgets which contained two or three tax breaks for farmers, but this budget would be a bumper one, he said, with in the region of 10 expected to be announced. He said the most progressive package is on the way for farmers in the budget through taxation and described it as a ‘very significant package that is also very progressive’.

Mr Downey said, “It is critical that funding in this budget is targeted at sectors that can provide a real return to the economy. Minister Coveney must fight for funding for farm schemes which will support farm incomes, underpin output and drive on-farm investment. There are 17,000 farmers leaving REPS this year, with thousands more having exited in 2013. The Minister must ensure that there is sufficient funding for the GLAS scheme in October’s Budget allocation to provide for the opening of applications for the scheme later this year with a significant payment for 30,000 farmers in 2015”.

He continued, “Capital expenditure is critically important for the continued development of agriculture and improvement in on-farm efficiency. There is a requirement for an ambitious programme of on-farm investment across all sectors through the TAMS, with additional capital funding required for the horticulture, forestry and aquaculture sectors, all of which are contributing to increased employment”.

Mr Downey concluded, “the outcome of the agri-taxation review must provide a roadmap for addressing the structural challenges in farming and achieving the growth potential of the sector. Taxation measures to address income volatility, encourage lifetime transfer, promote on-farm investment, and increase land mobility must be a central element of the Budget”.

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