At a pre-budget meeting this morning (Thurs, Nov 1st) with the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, IFA President John Bryan will emphasise the important role the agriculture sector can play in Ireland’s economic recovery and job creation.
Mr Bryan said, “Over the past year, the agri-food sector has delivered real employment growth, with potential for further expansion and employment creation in the coming years. Underpinning this growth is a primary agriculture sector that is delivering high quality, sustainably produced raw material to the food sector. Agriculture contributes to economic activity in every part of Ireland and is of particular importance to the rural economy”.
He continued, “In the upcoming budget, it is critical that the Government’s expenditure and taxation decisions support economic growth and productive sectors. Farming is a low-income sector, which has suffered disproportionate cuts in funding over the past number of years. Cuts to farm schemes impact directly on farm income and have a negative effect on production decisions at farm level and the spend in the rural economy. Farm families, like all other families, have been impacted by additional charges and taxes. Cuts to farm schemes would hit them on the double, and would be unacceptable”.
In relation to the farm schemes, Mr Bryan said, “it is critical that funding is maintained for Disadvantaged Areas, REPS, AEOS, forestry and the TAMS programme for on-farm investment in 2013. The Suckler Cow Scheme must be continued in 2013, to build on the improvements in herd quality delivered by the scheme to date”.
On farm taxation, Mr Bryan said, “To achieve the <i>Food Harvest 2020 </i>growth targets, farm restructuring is required. It is important that existing taxation measures that support farm transfer, investment and land mobility are retained in Budget 2013, and where restrictions in existing measures are proving a barrier to the development of the sector, these should be extended. In addition, there must be no further discrimination in the taxation system against the self-employed, in areas like income tax, PRSI or the Universal Social Charge”.