Minister must not renege on ANC Budget increase – Naughten





Denis Naughten has warned Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed that he must not renege on the Budget increase of €23m for the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payment which was agreed as part of the Budget 2019.

  Deputy Naughten said: “As someone who was party to the Budget 2019 talks, it was fully understood that the €23m increase agreed for the ANC payment would be made in September and there was never any indication that there would be any postponement until the end of 2019.

  “The decision by Minister Creed to withhold not just the €23m Budget increase but a further €12m (half of the increase that we secured in Budget 2018) until December at a time when farmers, particularly beef farmers, are facing serious financial pressure is completely unacceptable.

  “Many farmers are facing bank repayments this month and had relied on the ANC payment to keep banks at bay particularly with the collapse of the price of beef.

  “On average we have seen a 10% reduction in beef prices since this time last year and now Minister Creed seems to be adding to the financial pressures facing framers by holding back 15% of the ANC payment.

  “This decision has to be reversed and instead of holding back money we need to be exploring ways of getting more cash into the hands of farmers on the run up to the Brexit date of 31st October”.