Budget reaction: ICSA welcomes funding for weighing calves and return of full ANC

Tipperary Star reporter

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Budget reaction: ICSA welcomes funding for weighing calves and return of full ANC

ICSA president Patrick Kent

ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed the €40 for weighing calves announced in the Budget.

“ICSA asked Minister Creed for this in 2016 as a means of making the BDGP more accurate and rewarding farmers for putting real information into the ICBF database. An accurate calf weight is a real measure of how a cow is performing because it captures genetic potential for growth as well as milk.”

Mr Kent also welcomed the full restoration of the ANC payment which was slashed during the downturn. “This has been a real loss of income to our most disadvantaged farmers and it is high time it was restored.”

He also welcomed the extension of stock reliefs for another three years and the three year extension of stamp duty exemption for young farmers.

However, Mr Kent was more critical of other taxation measures. “The minor level of improvement on earned income tax credits and on the Category A thresholds for Capital Acquisitions Tax represent at best a begrudging admission that they are worthwhile and at worst a rowing back of the ambition set out in previous budgets. The earned income tax credit was only increased by €200 to €1,350 as happened last year as well. 

But the various reports on taxation have highlighted that there is a serious inequality with PAYE workers who qualify for a credit of €1,650. When Minister Noonan began the process of rectifying this blatant unfairness for self-employed workers it was indicated that it would be done over three budgets with an increase of €550 each time. We are now looking at this process being dragged out over seven years. There is no justification for this.   

Similarly, the increase in the Group A threshold for CAT covering gifts and inheritances has to be seen in the context that the thresholds were cut severely in the past and that there is an acceptance that the current level exposes many people to heavy tax burdens on taking over the family business.”

Mr Kent said that many farmers would be amazed at the substantial increase in afforestation money compared to what is being directed at livestock farming. “There is a serious question over blanket sitka spruce plantations both in terms of climate change and impact on rural communities.”

However, Mr Kent welcomed no increase in carbon taxes on fuel which he said did nothing to change behaviour for rural motorists who no option except to use diesel for transport. “Diesel fuels the rural economy and there is no realistic alternative for agricultural machinery or for haulage of inputs and outputs in rural areas.”