More income tax changes on the cards for farmers – Minister Creed

The Government will look again at changing the income tax system, so as to allow farmers cope better with the challenge of price volatility, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

Speaking at Day Two of the National Ploughing Championships, he said that there is scope to introduce a scheme which will allow farmers to shelter income in good years.

“The details of the proposed measure may well be announced in the Budget.”

He said that the dairy, beef and tillage sectors are under significant economic pressure at the present time.

“Individual dairy farmers can make up their own minds as to the relevance of the EU Milk Reduction Scheme.”

But this is a one-off measure and it cannot be used as a template which would see the re-introduction of milk quotas by the back door.”

The Minister said that he was aware of the pressure now building from lobby groups to have the Government agree the national top-up allowed for under the EU Exceptional Aid Scheme. And he did not rule out the issue being referred to in the upcoming Budget.

Minister Creed believes that Brussels will shortly come forward with a scheme that will help stabilise farmgate prices across the EU.

“If implemented, it would see the setting up of a mutual fund, which would be paid into by farmers, processors and retailers.

“Only a pan European scheme would have the desired effect for Irish farmers, given that we export such a high proportion of the food that we produce.

“I know that some Member States are against the establishment of such a fund. But there seems to be a fair degree of support for such a measure within the European Commission, Phil Hogan included.”

Creed said there was no upside to the UK leaving the European Union.

“The best that we can hope for, post-Brexit, is the continuation of the status quo with measures put in place to deal with the currency fluctuations that will follow.

“But Brexit will cause the Irish farming and food sectors severe problems. The reality is that we already have an all-island industry in place.”