"Double whammy for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland"
IT has been revealed that funds intended for environmental improvements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to be diverted to projects in England. The Quarry Products Association has discovered that a Westminster decision to siphon Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish revenues from the aggregates tax to England will cost communities in these countries at least £5 million a year in environmental improvements.
The Government has announced that £29.3 million of a £35 million Sustainability Fund generated by the tax will be spent in England, leaving little to be spent in the rest of the UK. This is because the allocation of the fund is being made on a population basis rather than on the basis of where the aggregates are produced and taxed.
For every tonne of aggregates produced in England, 18p will go to the English Sustainability Fund, but for every tonne of aggregates produced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland only 11p, 8p and 4p, respectively, will be allocated back to these countries. In effect, tax revenues raised in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be used to subsidize English projects.
Describing the Association’s findings as a ‘double whammy’ for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, QPA director general Simon van der Byl said: ‘Not only will these countries have the tax itself, which will threaten jobs and increase the cost of construction projects, but now we have discovered that they will receive a disproportionate amount of the Sustainability Fund.
‘Given that a key purpose of the fund is to help generate environmental improvements in areas of aggregates supply, it should surely be distributed where aggregates are produced,’ he argued.