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Saturday 20 October 2018

Budget 2019: Suckler farmers to receive €40/cow under new suckler payment, 10pc increase in ANC payments, Brexit protection

  • Restoration of the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments
  • New Suckler payment
  • Fuel price hikes put off by lobbying
  • Inheritance Tax threshold to rise by €10,000 to €320,000
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe reviews Budget 2019 in his office in the Department of Finance ahead of today’s presentation to the Dáil. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe reviews Budget 2019 in his office in the Department of Finance ahead of today’s presentation to the Dáil. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Farmers can expect a new suckler payment and a restoration of the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments to €250m from the Budget today.

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue is expected to announce details of the new suckler support scheme today, as well as a 10pc increase in the ANC payments, bringing it back up to its pre-crash budget of €250m.

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot Scheme (BEEPS) will include a €20m fund, which is understood to be used for a maximum of 500,000 sucklers cows - at a €40/head payment.

The payment will focus on measuring efficiencies of the suckler cow, with a view to further reducing carbon emissions per unit of beef from the suckler herd.

Some €70m has been allocated for for TAMS (Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme), while €103m will be allocated for forestry to encourage planting.

Minister Donohue announced a three year extension of the young trained farmers relief, with existing stocking reliefs extended by three years.

Stamp Duty Relief for young trained farmers extended by three years.

Details of a Brexit package are also expected to be announced to help farmers and protecting incomes including a future growth loan scheme to be announced today for SMEs and farmers.

Overall, the Budget is mixed news for farmers, who have been campaigning for a new €200 payment for suckler cows. The idea had support from Fianna Fáil, but Mr Donohoe ruled out a €200 payment, but looks like a smaller payment will be made to farmers.

Minister Donohue announced €40m for the rehabilitation of rural roads during his Budget speech today.

The Budget will allow for major changes to the Fair Deal scheme that will benefit farmers and small business owners.

Under the existing regime, farm families are required to set aside 7.5pc of the value of their land annually to fund a place in a nursing home.

From next year, this bill will be capped at three years, giving farmland and business assets the same status as the family home.Families are to benefit from 100,000 extra GP-only medical cards, increased childcare subsidies and an income tax cut in today’s Budget.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has backtracked on long-planned increases to petrol and diesel through carbon tax. Other measures include:

  • Back to School Allowance up €25;
  • Fuel Allowance extended by a week;
  • 25c increase to the minimum wage;
  • Home Carers’ Tax Credit up €300;
  • Inheritance Tax threshold to rise by €10,000 to €320,000;
  •  ‘Granny-flat’ grant.

Workers will get €5 a week back through changes to the income tax bands and USC, while all social welfare recipients, including pensioners, will also get a €5 boost. These  will be primarily paid for by a VAT rise to 13.5pc in the hospitality sector.

It's also understood that Health Minister Simon Harris's budget is to stretch beyond €16bn next year. This will allow for 100,000 new GP-only medical cards, a 50pc per item reduction in prescription costs for older people and a lowering by €10 of the maximum a family can pay for medicine in a single month.

The talks on the Budget went down to the wire last night after the Independent Alliance members of Government arrived in Paschal Donohoe's office with fresh demands.

It is understood they secured a €10,000 rise in the existing threshold for inheritance tax for children who are left property by their parents - something Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ruled out just last month.

Opinions on carbon tax remained divided in Government last night, but well-placed sources said planned hikes had been dropped.

Mr Donohoe has faced lobbying from his own TDs who feared a backlash in rural Ireland. It is understood he will target diesel cars through registration tax instead.

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