Belfast Telegraph

Farmers call for extension of aggregate levy credit scheme

Farmers have called for the aggregate levy credit scheme to be continued in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Farmers Union said many farmers and their families turn to off-farm employment in the quarrying industry, often in areas where few other jobs exist, and it is vital that those jobs are protected.

The Union has written to the European Commission in support of the Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland's (QPANI) call for the levy relief scheme to be continued in Northern Ireland.

"It is vital that Northern Ireland receives continued state aid approval for another levy relief scheme and that the rebate is extended for a further 10 years from March 2011. Without this, we believe there would be significant adverse social, economic and environmental consequences," UFU president John Thompson said.

"Given the decline in farm incomes, many farmers and their family members have sought off-farm employment. Often, these jobs are in areas where few alternative employment opportunities exist. Given the current economic climate and rising unemployment figures, it is essential that these jobs are protected."