The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has expressed major disappointment on the Budget details outlined by Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath this week.
Commenting on the Budget, National President Vincent Roddy said that 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.
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 as they outlined a Budget increase of €858 million to address this.
“Of this €858m increase there is a commitment of an additional €152 million for a just transition but it 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,” Mr. Roddy said.
“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). These designations have been assessed at EU level to cost these farmers €150/ha/year in terms of lost productivity and increased regulation”.
On other budget related issues, Mr. 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 per cent to 5.5 per cent, a decision he says, that will cost farmers €5.8 million.
With regard to the roll-over of all current schemes, the INHFA leader stated that “while expected, he had hoped that additional supports would have been put in place for our suckler and sheep sectors”.
Concluding, Mr. Roddy reiterated his disappointment that such a high spending budget couldn’t deliver anything new or significant to farming communities.