Donegal farmers badly hit in Budget 2013– Ó Domhnaill

Fianna Fáil’s Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture Brian Ó Domhnaill has slammed the Government for targeting smaller, lower-income farmers in the Budget.

 

The Donegal Senator has pointed out a number of hidden, mean-spirited cuts in the Department of Agriculture that will hit thousands of farmers in Donegal and across the North West region next year.

 

“This budget is riddled with sneaky, mean-spirited that will hit lower income farmers in the pocket.  These cuts prove once again that Minister Coveney has little regard for smaller farmers across the North West of the country who play a vital role in the local economy but are now struggling to stay in business,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.

 

Overall, the Department of Agriculture’s budget has cut €89 million overall.  Minister Coveney has targeted the Disadvantages Areas Scheme, REPS, Farm Assist, the Sheep Grassland Payment and the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme.

 

Senator Ó Domhnaill continued, “The changes in Farm Assist payment amount to a direct income cut for the most hard-pressed farmers.  Under Minister Coveney’s measures, farmers applying for Farm Assist will now be assessed on 100% of their income.  It means that all farmers, both single and with families, will lose between a quarter and a third of their Farm Assist payments.

 

“Donegal farmers will be badly hit by the cut in the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.  The eligibility for the scheme has been reduced from 34 to 30 hectares.  This, coupled with the 10% cut in REPS payments, and the highly regressive changes to PRSI has left many struggling farmers seriously worried about how they will cope next year.

 

“On top of all of this, the general VAT refund for farmers has been cut from 5.2% to 4.8% on all sales.  This will take €18 million from farmers’ pockets in 2013.  After a particularly bad summer for the sector, it is deeply unfair and highly regressive to further penalise farmers’ sales.”

 

The Donegal Senator concluded, “The devil is in the detail of this Budget.   Once again it is a case of Fine Gael looking after the higher earners at the expense of those on middle and lower incomes.  Smaller farmers are being squeezed from several angles in this Budget and unfortunately the impact of these regressive measures will be felt acutely in Donegal.”

 

ENDS

Posted: Dec 6, 2012     |     Categories: Uncategorized