IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley has described as unacceptable the decision of the Department of Agriculture not to increase standard costings for grant-aided work under the Farm Waste Management and Farm Improvement Schemes, saying it is a breach of the Farmers Charter of Rights where a commitment was given by Government to increase costings annually in line with the increased costs of buildings. Mr. Turley said the decision by the Department which was confirmed at a meeting of the Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise will effectively lead to a loss of grant aid of around five percent. This decision will reduce grant aid by up to €3,500 as the standard costs fall out of line with actual costs. The IFA Rural Development Chairman said the Department has ignored all the data that is available to them that clearly show that building costs have increased. The CSO Wholesale Price Index for Building and Construction materials officially confirms that price for all materials increased by 3.7 percent in 2007. Concrete products increased by 3.8 percent, structural steel by 6.1 percent and labour costs increased by six percent. ‘It is not acceptable that a situation is now arising whereby farmers were promised either a Farm Waste Management grant of 60 percent or a Farm Improvement Scheme grant of 40 percent with the Department basing their costings on outdated 2006 figures’. Already in 2008 costs for all construction material have increased and in the case of structural steel by ten percent.