There is a budget in place of €395m for the suite of seven measures available under TAMS II for the duration of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Expenditure to date amounts to over €109m with over €5.6m issuing last December and a further €7.3m issuing in January just gone.
My Department is closely monitoring expenditure, including expired approvals, under the scheme. By the end of 2018 approvals had expired with a grant value of approximately €11.8m - this appears to be the figure referred to in the question raised. However, I should point out that to date a total of 18,317 approvals have issued with a total estimated grant value of over €276m. All of these cases represent committed expenditure under the TAMS II measure of the RDP. Until such time as issued approvals are acted upon and payment claims submitted or approvals expire the budget for TAMS must include provision for the potential expenditure involved. I have also committed to keeping the scheme open for applications until end-2020 and must retain budget to allow this to happen in the interests of fairness to current and future applicants. It is anticipated that, based on the number of applications and payment claims being received, the full allocation of €395m will be spent over the course of the RDP. It must also be remembered that TAMs is only one scheme under our overall Rural Development Programme which as things stand is projected to overspend by €105m.
I have recently introduced changes to the Scheme, with meal bins now added to the long list of eligible investment items for all sectors under the Scheme and a favourable revision of the penalties applied for the late submission of payment claims. The Scheme also remains open for new applications with the current tranche due to close on 5 April this year. Applications continue to be received and processed under the Scheme with approvals currently issuing to the over 2,000 farmers who submitted applications under the tranche that closed on 7 December 2018. I am pleased to note that the level of applications received shows that there is an increasing level of interest in the Scheme. I would urge all participants who have completed approved works to submit their payment claims immediately to facilitate early payment.