ICMSA presents Pre-Budget Submission to Ministers Noonan and Howlin.
Speaking following a meeting with the Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure, Mr. Brendan Howlin, at which ICMSA presented its Pre-Budget Submission for 2013, The ICMSA President, John Comer, said that with the enormous challenges facing agriculture sector at present, as well as the wider economy, it is absolutely essential that measures are adopted in Budget 2013 that will actively direct and develop the Irish agriculture sector in a sustainable way and to ensure that it continues to play a leading role in the recovery in the Irish economy.
Mr. Comer said, that ICMSA’s Pre-Budget Submission focussed on five key areas, farm restructuring and consolidation, funding for vital farm schemes, family farm taxation, property taxes and energy costs. In relation to farm restructuring and consolidation, it is of the first importance that the taxation system does not represent a barrier to sensible restructuring of farms and, in relation to this issue, ICMSA is proposing amongst other measures a limited roll-over relief that would allow farmers who wish to purchase land closer to their home farm to sell land elsewhere without incurring a Capital Gains Tax liability. Mr Comer said that ICMSA is aware of a number of cases where very sensible proposals could not proceed because of this problem and it is very clear that the exchequer would benefit in the long term from such a transaction due to the increased production on the consolidated holding. The Stamp duty and Capital Acquisitions Tax rules also need to be structured to allow the transfer of holdings to the next generation and for the development of viable holdings.
In relation to farm schemes, the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, REPS, AEOS, Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme and TAMS are all hugely important schemes for farmers. Following the cuts in the 2012 Budget which are hitting extremely hard at farm level this year, it is crucial that the funding of these schemes is maintained for 2013 given their importance to the maintenance of farming throughout the country. In relation to TAMS, the funding of these schemes should be frontloaded to allow farmers to proceed with investment work as soon as possible and this would also benefit the many rural business that have an involvement in grant schemes.
Mr Comer also said that the rules in relation income averaging need to be amended to take account of farmers who are themselves or their spouse involved in a trade or profession outside of farming and the Family Farm Organisation believes that a simple amendment would resolve this matter and allow farm families to plan for the ever growing volatility in the sector.
Finally, ICMSA set out its position regarding property taxes and their impact on farm dwellings and the problem of escalating energy.
“Quite clearly, in order for the Irish economy to recover, the productive sector including the Agri-Food sector needs to be promoted and ICMSA believes that our Pre-Budget Submission sets out a number of proactive proposals that will assist the Agri-food sector in achieving its full potential”, concluded Mr. Comer.
Ends. 5 November 2012.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office