Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)
Issues regarding tax relief for agriculture are subject to EU approval. Why was this not dealt with before the budget? There is no recognition for the amount of technology that agriculture has embraced. Farmers have changed everything about the way they farm so they have played their part in addressing climate change. If this Government fails to recognise what agriculture is doing, it will see lower yields leading to fewer commodities and a shortage of products, which will, in turn, lead to food shortages, yet agriculture got the lowest amount of expenditure in yesterday's budget.
The role of biodigesters was highlighted by me and the Rural Independent Group a year ago. The Government is a little late and years behind Europe. So many young farmers in Macra na Feirme looked to this budget as one that would provide additional measures in respect of farm succession from older to younger farmers in a way that would attract future farmers. There is no cover for escalating fertiliser costs. Further support is only available for beef and sheep farmers and there is nothing for the pig farmer. Unfortunately, the rollover of the fodder and tillage scheme in the budget, while welcome, is completely insufficient to mitigate rocketing farm input costs, which are now at least 40% higher than a year ago. Increased feed, fertiliser, energy and other costs simply cannot be sustained by many farmers. Failure by this Government to allocate a once-off farm payment to mitigate the dire situation will result in many farmers pressed to the brink and forced out of business.
What the Government decided to do was to put a 10% levy on concrete products to fund the mica-pyrite rebate. Why not go after the culprits, such as the manufacturers and insurance companies that certified the defective products? The Government has made provision for a slurry storage scheme in the budget; such storage is all made from concrete. What the Government has done is put inflation into the farming sector. On the one hand, it came up with a scheme for slurry storage, while on the other it put on a 10% levy. It did not only do that; it put on 10% plus 13.5% for supply and fit, in addition to 10% plus 23% for supply only. The Government has inflated the cost for farmers who are trying to do their bit for climate change. It has created more inflation. This is across the board, from any young person who is trying to build a new house to any person who wants to renovate or upgrade his or her house. The Government has put on a 13% levy across the board for everyone in this country. Well done to the Government. It has now hit another nail into people in rural Ireland who might want to build a future for their farming and family sectors. It has helped to upgrade, and make more, inflation for this country. Well done.