Independent Farmers Organisation of Ireland reacts to 2022 Budget announcement.
Independent Farmers Organisation of Ireland has listened very carefully to the announcement on the implications for farmers of Budget 2022.
As with all previous budgets, the devil is often in the detail. Some will only emerge in the days and weeks ahead.
Our initial high-level response as a farmer representative organisation is one of major disappointment.
Our view is that farming has not benefited in any tangible way from the 2022 Budget. Rather, the budget will see farm incomes reduce still further for the third consecutive year.
Roll-over of farm schemes
The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform have made a big play on rolling over the current farm scheme for another year.
At a time when very many of farming inputs are increasing dramatically, including fuel, energy, fertiliser, contractor costs, plastic etc. rolling over schemes represents a significant reduction in Irish family farm incomes for 2022 and beyond.
The carbon taxes have been predictably increased, again a measure that takes money out of farmers’ pockets.
The €50m earmarked for farming from the proceeds of carbon taxes were diverted away from farming to social protection.
This was justified as DAFM does have not a scheme in place for farming. DAFM’s incompetence finishes up costing Irish farmers.
So much for the commitment Taoiseach, Micheál Martin made in September 2020. To add insult to injury, the only welfare element that benefits farmers, Farm Assist, was not increased in line with state pensions, fuel allowance etc.
Speaking in the Dáil after the Budget speech, Minister Charlie McConalogue reached for the five-gallon drum of greenwash and the largest brush he could find.
He applauded his own efforts in securing funding for initiatives that will not directly benefit farmers, including;
- €4m for the establishment of a Food Ombudsman’s office. We Independent Farmers Organisation of Ireland have no confidence that this will address the challenges in the sector. This new office will finish up being a new promotional outlet for experienced civil servants who can be trusted not to rock the boat. This announcement will be of greater interest to trade unions that represent civil and public servants than farmers.
- €15m for soil sampling scheme. The results of which we believe will be used to prevent farmers from farming our carbon-rich fields in future.
Flat Rate VAT
Tinkering with the Flat Rate VAT provision, reducing it by 0.1%, from 5.6% to 5.5.%, at a time when farm inputs are going through the roof, is laughable.
To take account of the increase in the cost of farm inputs, the rate would have needed to be increased to at least 6.0%.
Another year goes by, and another budget announced, where the government failed to comply with the EU instruction to close off the potential for abuse of the Flat Rate Vat provision.
This remains the strongest admission by the government that meat processors and factory farmers can do what they like in full view of Revenue.
The reduction of 0.1% is the first signal from the government that there are now too many heads feeding from this trough.
Two key messages
In conclusion, we believe that this budget sends out two key messages.
Firstly, there is more thought of those on welfare under this budget than those who work and work hard in our economy, including farmers.
Secondly, in trying to sprinkle a little across so many sectors, excluding farming, the government has scored yet another own goal.
Accordingly, the Independent Farmers Organisation of Ireland calls upon all rural TDs, including Independent TDs, to oppose the votes in Dáil Éireann, which would ratify the 2022 Budget.