Budget measures will allow success of agri-food sector to continue – Deering

7th December, 2011

Fine Gael TD for Carlow / Kilkenny, Pat Deering today (Wednesday) said the measures adopted in yesterday’s Budget will allow the contribution the agri-food sector has been making to our economic growth to continue and will ensure a strong future for the farming community.

“This Budget’s main focus was on jobs, growth, fairness and ensuring that the Government deficit target of 8.6% is reached in 2012. In attempting to do this, Minister Noonan put measures in place to stimulate the agri-food sector and other high performing sectors to help them continue to grow. The agri-food sector was among them.

“By reducing the stamp duty on agricultural land from 6% to 2%, the Minister is attempting to stimulate a stagnant agricultural land market. A half rate of 1% which will be available on transfers to close relatives until the end of 2014 will encourage the transfer of farms to the next generation and improve the age profile of Irish farmers. Restructuring the retirement relief on Capital Gains Tax will further incentivise the earlier transfer of farm assets to younger farmers and will get the agricultural land market moving.

“A new stock relief incentive for farm partnerships will ensure an enhanced return on investment for farmers with as much as a 100% stock relief being made available for certain young trained farmers forming registered farm partnerships. Subject to clearance with the European Commission under State Aid rules, this relief will be made available until December 2015.

“Broader budgetary measures such as the exemption rate for the Universal Social Charge which has been raised from €4,004 to €10,036 which are aimed at assisting lower paid workers and those in part-time employment will be of particular benefit to low-paid seasonal workers in the farming sector. Improvements to the R&D tax credit and a Foreign Earnings Deduction to support our export drive targeted at BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries will incentivise farmers to expand, helping them to meet new challenges both at home and abroad.

“The face of Irish farming is changing. A young, dynamic and well trained cohort of farmers will ensure that the success that the agri-food sector has been experiencing in recent years will continue into the future. Our agricultural colleges are full at present and people are looking again at farming as a viable way of life.

“Ireland is world leader when it comes to food production and the Government recognises the value of growing this sector and supporting efficient and progressive primary producers. The measures contained in this Budget will enable the agri-food sector to continue to play its part in Ireland’s future success and in ensuring that our small country is restored to greatness once again.