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ICSA: No nasty surprises for farmers in the Budget

Coveney announced €195 million for the disadvantaged areas scheme but a cost benefit view has farmers on edge.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

FARMERS ARE ONE one of the more satisfied groups in society today following the Budget announcement today, as they avoided any harsh cuts or major changes to schemes for disadvantaged areas.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said that maintaining the current level of payments to farmers in disadvantaged areas was a “key priority”, announcing €195 million next year for the scheme.

He also announced investment of €40 million in the beef sector which will include a genomics scheme, a data programme, the technology adoption programme and the Suckler Welfare Scheme.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Eddie Punch of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said farmers welcomed the proposal of money for the suckler herd breeding scheme.

“We’ll call it small step in the right direction,” he said. Punch said it was “an uneventful budget for farmers” as the government has already “paired to the bone everything it could cut in previous budgets”.

There will be a small increase next year in the farmers’ flat rate addition, which compensates farmers for VAT incurred on farming inputs, from 4.8 to 5 per cent.

Capitol Gains Tax retirement relief is also being extended to disposals of long-term leased farmland in certain circumstances, to encourage older farmers to lease out their land.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said earlier that an “independent cost benefit analysis” will be undertaken to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Punch said that he was “concerned that could have some adverse outcome”. However he said that the general sense was that “there hasn’t been any additional nasty surprises” for farmers.

Related: IN FULL: Michael Noonan’s Budget 2014 speech>

Read: Payments under €125m scheme for disadvantaged farmers start today>

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