Minister for Foreign Affairs and Fine Gael TD for Laois/Offaly, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed the beginning of advance payments to farmers. Over €18 million will be available for farmers in Laois.
“Over €18 million has begun issuing to farmers in Laois from today. The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, was very aware of the need to maximise cash flow and so has ensured these payments started issuing as soon as possible.
“Payments to farmers under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme also continue to issue and the initial advance of the BPS and Greening Payment, together with ANC payments, means approximately €775 million will have issued to Irish farmers under these Schemes in the last month alone.
“Budget 2016 has introduced a series of agri-taxation measures including the extension of the general stock relief, stock relief for young farmers and stamp duty exemptions for young trained farmers up to the end of 2018. There will be a tax credit of €5,000 per annum for five years for farmers who transfer their land to successors over a period of time, making it easier for farms to be passed from one generation to the next. These measures make farming more attractive to younger people and to families.
“Farmers in Laois will now be able to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit of €550. It will also apply to a spouse where a couple both work on the farm. This will begin the process of tax equalisation for the self-employed and PAYE workers, including farmers.
“Minister Coveney has also launched the second tranche of GLAS, the new agri-environmental scheme which replaces REPS and AEOS.
“The first tranche of GLAS, which closed on 26th May this year, proved a huge success, attracting almost 27,000 applications. The second tranche will increase this to at least 35,000 and up to 40,000. The overall target for GLAS is to attract 50,000 farmers into the new scheme over its lifetime and Minister Coveney commented that it was clear that GLAS was well on its way to meeting that target.
“Fine Gael is standing up for rural Ireland and last week’s budget contains an extra €109 million investment agriculture and agri-food.
“The last few budgets have been hard, but they made it possible for Ireland to exit the bailout, reduce our debts, and move into a real recovery.
“The top priority this year is to keep the recovery going in all parts of the country, while providing relief and better services. This budget is affordable, responsible and consistent with the Government’s plan to eliminate Government borrowing by 2018 and to promote regional economic growth, jobs and future recovery.“