IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson, Maura Canning has said the Fair Deal scheme is jeopardising the viability of the family farm model and is causing untold stress to older farmers at a very difficult time.
“The Government needs to address the treatment of income generating assets, such as the family farm, under the Fair Deal scheme in the Budget”, said Mrs. Canning. “The IFA is looking for the introduction of a maximum percentage charge that can be applied to family farm, in all circumstances, regardless of the duration of care”.
She said that this would allow farm families to make the most appropriate decisions in meeting the cost of care and secure the viability of the farm business, which may be undermined by the impact of an unknown cost of care on the future value of assets.
“IFA is fully supportive of and encourages lifetime transfers of farms”, said Maura Canning, “but for many reasons this may not have happened by the time a person needs nursing home care. It is not appropriate that the farm asset is treated in the same way as other assets as it is a productive asset that is required to generate income.”
She continued that according to Teagasc’s National Farm Survey, over 30% of farms are vulnerable, which means the income from farming is not sufficient to make these farms economically viable, therefore any further dilution of such asset would render these farms non-viable.
“The introduction of a cap on the maximum percentage charge to be applied to a farm asset would have little impact on the revenue collected by the State, given that the average duration of stay in a nursing home is four years. But it would make a huge difference to farm families and the uncertainty in relation to the costs of care,” Maura Canning concluded.