Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farm Retirement Scheme.

Thursday, 31 May 1979

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 314 No. 12

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52.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  asked the Minister for Agriculture why the amounts provided in the 1979 Estimates for the farm retirement scheme have been reduced as against the 1978 provision.

Mr. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  Allowing for the balance brought forward from 1978 the amount available this year for the purchase of land under the farmers' retirement scheme is £300,000 more than was spent last year. Similarly, the 1979 provision for retirement pensions and premiums under the scheme is £132,000 more than was spent last year.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would the Minister agree that the fact that the amount provided for this scheme has been substantially underspent suggests that there was room for a much larger increase in the rate of pension that was actually granted?

Mr. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  I agree that the scheme is not very successful. One of the biggest contributory factors is the ever increasing price of land, which acts as a very positive deterrent on the prospective seller of land within the retirement scheme. There are other factors, such as the better agricultural prices we have being getting. Other elements tended to make it unpopular, like income tax liabilities of retiring farmers.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would the Minister agree that the fact that these pensions have been increased by only two thirds the amount of old age pension increases has been an additional disincentive which it is within the power of the Government to remove?

Mr. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  Obviously if the available funds were forthcoming these things could be done.

[2015]Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  They are, but they are not being used.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The remaining questions will appear on the Order Paper for the next Dáil sitting day. Meanwhile, if Deputies wish to have any of them taken for written replies, they can have that done.


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