The tax exemption on the forced sale of Single Farm Payment entitlements in 2014 introduced by the Government earlier this year was both a necessary measure and fully justifiable, according to Mr. John Comer, President of ICMSA and is a direct result of rules introduced by the EU Commission that were totally unforeseen from a farmer and landowner perspective. The decision of the Government ensured that this anomaly introduced by the EU could be dealt with in a fair and reasonable way and importantly, ensured that the Government showed due recognition to the threat this decision posed to land mobility, an issue rightly identified as a key barrier to the achievement of the Food Harvest 2020 targets.
It is very important, Mr. Comer said, to point out that the people in this scenario were forced to sell their entitlements, they had no choice, either sell or lose the entitlements and if the EU Commission had not changed the rules, these sales would not have taken place. ICMSA, Mr. Comer said, had identified this problem at an early stage and when a solution was not forthcoming from the EU, the decision by the Minister to provide a once off tax exemption to the people impacted by this decision was very welcome, fair and showed that the Government recognised the serious and unfair predicament that these people found themselves in.
The matter, Mr. Comer said, only came to light earlier this year and the Government actions should be fully supported and I believe should be seen as a progressive step in terms of Food Harvest 2020 and also allowing thousands of landowners in a very difficult position due to no fault of their own to resolve a problem not of their making.
Ends. 11 July 2014
John Comer, 087 2057846