ICOS has submitted its pre-budget submission to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Finance.
The agri-food sector is facing enormous challenges due to low income across the main production sectors, volatile incomes in the dairy sector, the prospect of a damaging No-Deal Brexit and the need to transition towards a low carbon future. The co-operative model remains central to the success of the agri-food sector, as it continues to grow in scale and complexity.
Farmer owned and controlled co-operatives do require the support of Government, if they are to continue to provide the structure and organisation, which the success of the sector is built upon.
In recent years, ICOS has been extremely disappointed by the failure by the Government to introduce an income stabilisation tool. The introduction of this measure is long overdue, especially as the sector faces into the headwind of a No-Deal Brexit.
Furthermore, we call on the Government to examine the tax treatment of co-operative shares as a priority.
The ICOS Pre-Budget Submission calls for a range of policy measures including:
- The introduction of an income stabilisation tool in Budget 2020 to enable primary producers to grow and manage their business, while having a more reliable and stable cash flow to aid them in decision making, resulting in a wider positive economic impact on the rural economy.
- The inclusion of qualifying co-operative shares to be classified as qualifying assets for the purpose of calculating CAT agricultural relief and CGT retirement relief. In addition, the qualifying shares to be eligible for appropriate capital allowances.
- A range of practical measures to assist the agri-food sector during a No-Deal Brexit including a dedicated Brexit Adjustment Fund, additional supports for market diversification, export finance and appropriate levels of investment into Ireland’s customs infrastructure to ensure minimal disruption and delay.
- The Introduction of incentives for community renewable energy projects such as tariffs and price support for those community projects generating renewable energy, utilising the electricity levy to strategically promote renewable energy consumption and a “Green Tax Credit” for renewable electricity generation. We also call on the Government to ensure Ireland realises its potential as a world leader in biomass production through the provision of a range of supports and incentives.
The submission can be viewed here
Eamonn Farrell, Agri-food Policy Executive
30 Apr 2021