The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) has expressed major disappointment about Budget 2022 details outlined by Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath this week (Tuesday, October 12).

Commenting on Budget 2022, INHFA president, Vincent Roddy, said: “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.”

He said that in the budget, Minister McGrath detailed an increase in core spending of €4.2 billion for the coming year with both ministers emphasising the major challenge posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, and outlined a budget increase of €858 million to address this.

Roddy continued: “Of this €858 million increase there is a commitment of an additional €152 million 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.”

Just transition in Budget 2022

“There is already a compelling case for a just transition to be made for the many farmers operating under the burden of land designations (SAC and SPA),” Roddy continued.

“These designations have been assessed at EU level to cost these farmers €150/ha/year in terms of lost productivity and increased regulation.

“This was a major factor in our budget proposals, where we outlined the need for an annual budget of €120 million to ensure a just transition for these farmers,” the INHFA president added.

“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 €5.8 million.

With regard to the rollover of all current schemes, the INHFA leader stated that while expected, he had hoped that additional supports would have been put in place for suckler and sheep sectors.

The INHFA has said that it is disappointed that such a high spending budget couldn’t deliver anything new or significant to farming communities.