Leo Varadkar urged to alter Farm Assist scheme to help low income families

Leo Varadkar

Farm leaders have called on Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to make changes in the Farm Assist scheme to protect low income families.

IFA rural development committee chairman Joe Brady said it is important changes are made to the scheme and the assessment process done in a fair way reflecting the volatility of farm incomes. 

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association farm business committee chairperson Lorcan McCabe said cuts to Farm Assist in successive Budgets must be reversed.

Low income farm families heavily depend on these payments during financial difficulty which many are now experiencing, he said.

Varadkar, in a Dail reply to Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, said farm families with the lowest income were least impacted by the changes as the headline rates of Farm Assist were maintained.

He said the Programme for Government contains the commitment to undertake a “review of the Farm Assist Scheme, recognising the challenges facing farmers on low incomes”.

“I have asked my officials to review the Farm Assist scheme from a policy and an administrative point of view. 

"Any changes will have to be considered in a budgetary context,” he said.


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