“Don’t discriminate against farmers” with asset test

“DON’T discriminate against farmers and the self employed,” Cllr Mary Bohan said in opposition to the Government’s decision to set up a Capital Test Implementation Group.

“DON’T discriminate against farmers and the self employed,” Cllr Mary Bohan said in opposition to the Government’s decision to set up a Capital Test Implementation Group.

Speaking at the monthly Leitrim VEC meeting, Cllr Bohan said the setting up of the new group was “worrying.” She said the fact that farmers’ land could be valued and this could work against a student getting a third level education grant is “outrageous.” Likewise she said the same of a small shop owner not making a profit.

Senator Paschal Mooney agreed and said it will hinder people locally.

Cllr Enda McGloin agreed with Mary Bohan but said there had been problems a few years ago where PAYE workers were not getting grants that self employed people were, because of the way the accounts were created. Mary Bohan said all farm income is now declared on the accounts. She said someone with 100 acres of land needs that land to get an income it is not an addition to their income.

Community Representative on the VEC Padraig McLoughlin agreed and said grants should be approved on “net income.”

Cllr John Ward also agreed and Cllr Martin Kenny said “some assets can be seen as liabilities and worth very little.”

As previously reported by this paper, the President of ICMSA John Comer has promised a “tooth and nail” campaign of resistance against the changes to current Third Level means testing arrangements likely to follow the Government’s Capital Asset Test Implementation Group.

Mr Comer has stated “Farming families should be under no illusion whatsoever: if this proposal goes ahead than the children of the typical fulltime farmer will never qualify for a higher education grant.”