Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (129)

Denis Naughten


205 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason the farm retirement scheme is not index-linked; if there is provision under the scheme to index-link this payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3866/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Agriculture and Food)

The rate of pension payable under the 1994 early retirement scheme is the maximum provided for by the EU Council regulation under which the scheme was introduced. The regulation does not provide for indexation of payments.

My Department's proposals for the early retirement scheme that commenced on 27 November 2000, which forms part of the CAP rural development plan for the period 2000-06, included provision for annual increases in pension over the period of the plan. The European Commission rejected this proposal and insisted that a fixed rate be set instead. My Department then proposed a rate that was the average of the scale initially proposed. This was acceptable to the Commission and is the rate provided for in the new scheme.