Three-year Fair Deal cap ‘will help farm­ers to plan ahead’

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CLAIRE FOX

THE pro­posed three-year cap on con­tri­bu­tions from farms in the Fair Deal scheme will pro­vide cer­tainty to farm­ers and al­low them to plan ahead, the IFA has said.

The new deal is set to save farm­ers thou­sands of euro in nurs­ing home fees un­der a Bud­get deal that will pro­tect their farm and business as­sets for the first time.

Un­der the cur­rent scheme, fam­i­lies pay a 7.5pc an­nual con­tri­bu­tion on their prin­ci­pal res­i­dence for a max­i­mum of three years.

How­ever, the three­year cap does not ap­ply to farm­land or business premises — mean­ing the fi­nan­cial bur­den fac­ing farm­ers and business own­ers is much greater.

Fol­low­ing a meet­ing with IFA pres­i­dent Joe Healy last week, Min­is­ter for Older Peo­ple Jim Daly an­nounced that he planned to put in place the same three-year cap on as­sets once he gets ap­proval from the At­tor­ney Gen­eral and the Cabi­net.

Speak­ing fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Mr Healy said: “A cap will help to pro­vide some cer­tainty for farm fam­i­lies and would al­low them to plan know­ing the full po­ten­tial li­a­bil­ity on the farm as­set.

“The new cap must ap­ply to all farm as­sets, sim­i­lar to the charge on pri­vate prin­ci­ple res­i­dence.”

ICSA’s Sea­mus Sher­lock also wel­comed the pro­posal, as cur­rently there is a “deepseated fear” of the Fair Deal scheme in ru­ral Ire­land.

“We al­ways be­lieved that a three-year cap was the most equitable so­lu­tion for farm­ing fam­i­lies,” he said.

“As the scheme cur­rently stands, per­fectly vi­able farms could be ren­dered un­vi­able be­cause of the in­her­ent un­fair­ness built into the scheme.”

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