Farming survey: Farmers want spending increases not more tax cuts

Most farmers believe the Government should increase spending in next month’s Budget rather than cut taxes.

Farming survey: Farmers want spending increases not more tax cuts

According to the opinion poll, 59% of respondents were in favour of increased spending rather than tax cuts, while just 17% disagreed with another 24% having no opinion either way. Of those in favour of more government spending, 38% slightly agree and 21% strongly agree.

The poll results show that while two thirds of farmers who do not have an off-farm job back more spending over job cuts, just 52% of those with an off-farm income feel the same way.

Women were also more likely to favour increased spending (67%) than men (57%), and while more than half of respondents involved in tillage and livestock back spending over tax cuts, that level of support is lower than among their counterparts involved in dairy and other farming activities. Support for more spending rather than tax cuts was also most marked among those aged 65 and over, at 64%.

Regionally, support levels fluctuated, from 70% among respondents at Kilkenny show and 74% from those questioned at Tipperary Show, down to 37% from those polled in Virginia in Co Cavan.

The president of the ICMSA, John Comer, said of the three-to-one ratio in favour of increased Budget spending: “It would seem to put the farmers surveyed at variance with the intentions expressed by the Taoiseach as recently as this month when he again signalled that middle-income earners will be given a tax cut.

“We can assume that farmers, in common with very many other groups, might be feeling that given the scale of challenges like housing and health. it might be wiser to forego what are likely to be small tax cuts in favour of increasing the funds the state has available.

“Very few people like paying tax — but perhaps we’re seeing a decision by the farmer respondents that a concerted effort to tackle these problems is preferable to what will end up being just a few euro extra per week in the pockets of taxpayers.”

Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll

The Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll was designed to provide a robust and accurate snapshot of the attitudes, beliefs and opinions of the farming community about a range of issues, both farming and social. The survey involved 569 interviews with farm dwelling adults in the Republic of Ireland.

Fieldwork was completed by Behaviour & Attitudes over a two-week period between August 13 and 27, with interviewing undertaken onsite by Behaviour & Attitudes interviewers across eight agricultural shows. The sample size is large and the data has a statistical margin of error of +/-4%.

The sampling approach involves a random probability method, with interviews being undertaken with attendees provided they worked and/or lived on a farm. 429 interviews were with farmers themselves, 31 with non family, farm employees, and the balance with spouses (66), most of whom -5 out of 6- personally work on the family farm as well.

All data is copyrighted by the Irish Examiner and Behaviour & Attitudes and should be attributed to this source where quoted.

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