2022 budgetary measures “must provide a concrete commitment to rural and regional equity and terminate government-inflicted urban bias”, the Rural Independent Group of TDs has said.
The group is today (Wednesday, October 6) launching its pre-budget submission for a “regionally-balanced and fairer recovery”.
The TDs said that the budget must bring a “new urgency of ensuring taxpayers’ resources are spent properly, guaranteeing punishment for those who do wrong, and bringing forth equity and fairness in how we treat our most vulnerable”.
“Those are the measures of a true republic,” the deputies said.
They are calling for a raft of measures to support farmers and the rural economy.
“For far too long, rural areas have been forgotten, due to mismatched policies adopted by successive governments,” leader of the Rural Independent Group Mattie McGrath said.
“Unfortunately, this has manifested into the creation of a two-tier economy and society in Ireland. This was demonstrated, even during the pandemic, when our large multinational corporations were shielded from economic pain.
“Thus, it is crucial that any post-pandemic recovery is fair and leaves no community or citizen behind.
“We believe the budgetary measures must provide a concrete commitment to rural and regional equity and terminate government-inflicted urban bias, which compromises the scope of regional economies to exploit their potential and adapt to current and future challenges.”
The TDs are recommending a “zero increase in the carbon tax” in Budget 2022, as the rates are “already having and will continue to have a crippling impact on every low to medium-income Irish household, as well as farmers and small businesses”.
They are also seeking €2 billion to be “ringfenced for agriculture from the carbon tax fund [to 2030]” and for it to be “treated separately from CAP Pillar II funding”.
“The Rural Independent TDs also wish to reiterate their recommendation for the agriculture sector to be given a special derogation from the impacts of the carbon action plan. There should be no cull whatsoever to the national herd,” the TDs said.
In addition, they are calling for:
“€300 per suckler cow; €30 per ewe; and €300 million for ANCs. In addition, we need a new scheme for tillage farmers to stop the exodus from this sector.
“Accelerated capital allowances and VAT exemptions on the purchase of emissions-efficient investment in equipment and facilities to help farmers to play their role in contributing to the sector’s climate change targets.
“We propose that part of the €2 billion income ringfence in agriculture from carbon tax be used to provide grants for medium-size wind, solar PV, and anaerobic digestion generating electricity for use on the farm and excess sold into national grid at market rates.”
Deputy McGrath added that every citizen in Ireland “deserves equal access to broadband, health services, housing, public transportation and a social safety net, when they experience illness, old age or fall on hard times”.