Farmers were today presented with a ‘roll over’ Budget as schemes and taxation measures remain, for the most part, unchanged under the 2021 Budget.
Indicators in the run up to the Budget were that the Department’s key priority was to ensure funding is in place to retain existing schemes until a new CAP is in place.
Further taxation reliefs already in place have been rolled over, including consanguinity relief and consolidation relief.
A much-flagged new ‘REPS’ scheme is expected to get the green light today, with a pilot scheme to determine the measures that it will include.
The scheme will be focused on environmental outcomes, diversity and emissions, but further engagement is understood to be needed with stakeholders.
Tellingly, measures to encourage a reduction in the national suckler herd through participation in REPS are not thought to be on the table.
Meanwhile, while it is unlikely that there will be an announcement on a new calf-to-beef headage scheme in today’s Budget, farming sources are hopeful that the Government’s position on the industry proposal will be firmed up in the coming days.
Key farming announcements
Department of Agriculture’s Budget
The Budget of the Department of Agriculture has been increased to €1.8bn and increase of €179m on 2020 budget.
Department of Agriculture’s extra funding provides for Range of new ‘pilot’ schemes for farmers to be announced in 2021 and ‘maintain’ funding for ‘many existing schemes’.
New €45m Covid Beef scheme improving carbon efficiency
GLAS, ANCs, BDGP, the Sheep Welfare Scheme nd other beef measures that support farm incomes and continued environmental action have all been extended.
The Government has yet to confirm whether the TAMS II farm building grant scheme will be extended to 2021.
€20 million of the proceeds of the increase in carbon tax are being allocated to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for New Environment schemes. This is in support of the Programme for Government commitment to create a scheme to encourage farmers to adopt lower emission forms of agriculture.
A 33pc increase in funding for the organic farming scheme, to allow it to be reopened for new entrants;
Extra funding of €25m will be provided to implement necessary controls for agri-food exports and imports from the UK after end of Brexit transition period.
Government has committed to provide funding for the establishment of a new Food Ombudsman.
Consanguinity Relief on agricultural land has been extended by three years.
Consanguinity Relief, is critical in some individual family situations vary and where farmers are not in the position to inherit the farm as a young trained farmer.
The Consanguinity Relief allows them to inherit assets and not pay the full rate of stamp duty, which currently stands at 7.5pc, but instead pay 1pc.
The latest Revenue data available (2018) shows that there were over 1,600 claimants of the relief at a cost of €22 million.
Farm Consolidation Relief
Farm Consolidation Relief has also been extended by two years.
The Stamp Duty Relief for farm consolidation allows for a 1pc rate of stamp duty where a land transaction qualifies for a “Farm Restructuring Certificate” for the purposes of Capital Gains Tax Relief on Farm Restructuring.
Forty-five farmers used the relief in 2018, saving €300,000.
Increase of the farmers flat VAT rate addition from 5.4pc to 5.6pc with effect from January 1 .
Earned income support
The earned income support for the self-employed will go up €150 top €1,650
The cost of petrol and diesel will rise are set to rise after tomorrow’s Budget due to a €7.50 increase in the carbon tax to €33.50 per tonne.
This will add €1.28 to an average 60l tank of petrol and €1.47 to a tank of diesel.
The Carbon Tax hike will also see the price of a 12.5kg bale of peat will increase by 20c and €1.80 will be added to a 40kg bag of coal. Gas heating will also rise by more than €15 per 15,000 kilowatts per hour.