11 Oct 2016
LOW COST LOANS AND FARM SCHEME FUNDING – MORE FROM BUDGET 2017Economics, Farm Business & Credit
Take a look at some of the agriculture expenditure measures outlined in Budget 2017.
Low cost loans
A loan fund worth €150 million that will offer low cost cashflow support credit. The fund will provide flexible loans for up to 6 years for amounts up to €150,000 at an interest rate of 2.95%. Loans will be administered through the SBCI and will enable farmers to improve the management of their cash flow and reduce the cost of their short-term borrowings. The fund will be available to livestock, tillage and horticulture farmers. It is hoped the loans will be available early in the new year on a first-come first-served basis.
€25m in Department of Agriculture funding, including the €11m in exceptional aid granted by the EU, will be used to leverage the €150m fund. Further information on the loans will be available in early November.
Department of Agriculture funding is to increase by 9% including an increase in funding for the Rural Development Programme of €107 million to €601 million in 2017.
€25m allocated for new animal welfare scheme for sheep for up to 34,000 participants
Increase of €69m for GLAS, to bring funding to €211m and allowing for a further 12,000 participants – 50,000 to be in the scheme in 2017. In total, €241.7 allocated for agri-environment schemes (GLAS, AEOS, RESP, Organics) in 2017.
Beef Data and Genomics Programme to re-open to applicants – allocated €52m for 2017
€202m allocated for Areas of Natural Constraint
€25.6 million allocated for Knowlege Transfer Scheme
€50m allocated for TAMS
Food Safety Animal Health and Welfare
Total funding allocated is €88.5m, including €34m for TB and Brucellosis eradication
€111.6 million for the Forestry Programme
€5 million in capital investment for the commercial horticulture sector
€10 million allocated for the organics sector
Social Protection Rates
€5 increase in maximum rate of all weekly payments for pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, widows, lone parents, job seekers and those on Farm Assist. Christmas Bonus of 85% to be paid in early December.
Reversal of Farm Assist cuts – farm income and other income from offfarm selfemployment to be assessed at 70%, down from 100%, for Farm Assist, with additional annual disregard of €254 for each of the first two children and €381 for the third and other children.€5 increase in maximum weekly rate of Farm Assist and €3.30 increase for adult dependants.
Rural Social Scheme
Rural Social Scheme – 500 additional places in 2017, increasing overall number to 3,100.
Social Insurance cover
Extended social insurance cover for self-employed including optical, hearing and dental care (from March 2017) and invalidity pension from December 2017. More dental and optical benefits from October 2017.
€15 million allocated to progress the procurement of the National Broadband Plan to provide high speed broadband to areaa of rural Ireland where commercial investment is not forthcoming.
€40million for the delivery of LEADER in 2017
€12m in funding for the Town and Village Regeneration Scheme
€5m for re-opened CLAR Programme
Cap on prescription charges reduced to €20 for over 70 year olds from 1st March 2017
Medical cards to be extended to all children in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance
A new affordable childcare scheme is to be introduced from September 2017 to provide a means tested subsidy for children between 6 months and 15 years (for households earning up to €47,500) and a universal subsidy for all children aged between 6 months and 3 years (up to €900 per annum).