ICMSA say Noonan’s ‘positive’ undermined by Howlin’s ‘negative’
ICMSA President, Jackie Cahill, welcomed the emphasis on agriculture and exports in today’s speech to the Dail but he said that taken in conjunction with yesterday’s contribution by Minister Howlin – as it should be – the whole pointed to lack of ‘real commitment’ on behalf of this key sector. Mr Cahill said the ‘positives’ announced by Minister Noonan had been undermined or negated by the ‘negatives’ represented by Monday’s destruction of REPS 4 and the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the whole must count, unfortunately, as a missed opportunity.
On the positive aspects of Minister Noonan’s speech, Mr Cahill singled out the reduction in Stamp Duty, which described it as an undoubted positive, but he noted that the increase in stock relief should apply to all farmers and not just have been confined to partnerships. Mr Cahill also said that the changes announced in CAT and CGT taken together with the so-called ‘Educational Asset Test’ announced yesterday signalled a questionable attitude on the part of Government to what Minister Noonan had referred to as ‘wealth’ but which could more accurately be described as ‘productive assets’.
Mr Cahill was very specific on this point: farmland is not wealth but is a productive asset and must be viewed in that different light. ICMSA would also be vigilant against any covert restoration of death duties, a move that was now much more likely following the reduction in the CAT threshold to €250,000.
The ICMSA President also noted that the off-setting of carbon tax increase on green diesel through the income tax code would not alleviate the situation for those farmers with no taxable income or, indeed, those who paid tax at the standard rate and it therefore constituted a breach of the Programme for Government. Mr Cahill said that ICMSA will put forward a number of technical solutions designed to rectify that situation.
Ends. 6 December 2011.
Jackie Cahill, 087-2820663
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office