IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins has welcomed commitment by the Department of Agriculture to review reference costings for grant-aided work under the TAMS on-farm investment scheme.
IFA raised this matter at a recent Charter of Farmers’ Rights meeting and made the case that the adjustment in costings is necessary given the recent increases in building materials such as steel, as a result of Brexit.
‘It’s not acceptable that farmers were promised either a grant of 60% or a grant of 40%, with the Department basing their costings on outdated 2018 and earlier figures,” he said.
Michael Biggins said if costings are not regularly updated the value of grant aid due to the farmer is reduced. The percentage of grant aid is based on the standard or reference cost payable at either the basic 40% grant rate or in the case of young farmers at 60%. He said it is important that the grant paid broadly relates to the actual costs incurred.
He said the Department of Agriculture must take account of all the data available that clearly show building costs have increased since the last review.
In the case of own labour, where a farmer carries out some of the work, it is currently costed at €13.50/hr. This hasn’t been reviewed for over two years and needs to increase to €15/hr.
Michael Biggins said that any review must include all applications currently in the system. The impact of a costings increase would mean that a farmer gets a more accurate rate of grant relative to investment costs incurred, excluding VAT.