IFA President Joe Healy has called for the immediate publication of the recommendations of The Interdepartmental Working Group on the Fair Deal scheme to provide certainty to farm families who fear the viability of their family farm will be undermined or lost in meeting the cost of long-term care.
IFA made a detailed presentation to the Working Group last October, seeking a reduced charge on farm assets that reflects the ability to pay; a reduction to three years in the time for which a financial assessment would apply to assets transferred prior to entering the scheme; and, a broadened interpretation of ‘sudden illness or disability’.
Joe Healy said the so-called ‘Fair Deal Scheme’ was far from fair; the current financial assessment is fundamentally unfair and has the potential to render farms non-viable for future generations. He said farms are productive assets required to generate income, they are not a measure of ability to pay.
The IFA President said the Government committed to introduce changes to the Fair Deal Scheme as soon as practicable to remove discrimination against small businesses and family farms. He pointed out that the review of the Fair Deal Scheme began in 2012 “Farm families have already waited far too long for necessary changes to be implemented, movement on this issue is now urgently required.”
IFA Farm Family Chairperson, Maura Canning explained that, “The current Fair Deal assessment for is fundamentally unfair and has a disproportionate impact on low income farm families, where any further dilution of the farm assets could make the farm non-viable for future generations.
“The uncertainty created for farm families by the potentially uncapped liability in the financial assessment of farm business assets is causing significant stress for older farmers and their families, at an already difficult time.”