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Levy victory for BAA but confusion remains

British Aggregates Association says lack of Treasury response means the situation remains unclear

ON 7 March the British Aggregates Association (BAA) achieved a significant victory in its 10-year battle against the Aggregates Levy, when the EU General Court in Luxembourg decreed that the state aid approval granted to the Levy by the EU Commission in 2002 was illegal and annulled it.

BAA lawyers Herbert Smith have written to the Chancellor, George Osborne, requesting immediate clarification on the status of the Levy. In particular, they have called for the Levy to be suspended and for confirmation that quarry companies who stop paying the Levy will not be hit with draconian penalties.

The BAA says HM Treasury has yet to respond and, until it does, the situation remains unclear.

According to the BAA, the ruling also raises a number of questions relating to past payments and may well open the door to claims for repayment. The Association, in conjunction with Herbert Smith, is presently advising its members on the proper procedures to protect their position.

It says claims need to be submitted promptly in view of the statutory time limits involved and suggests that all operators should consider routing their claims via Herbert Smith (tel: 0207 466 6434; or email: [email protected]). Alternatively, operators can contact Richard Bird at the BAA on tel: (07776) 298347; or email: [email protected].

Despite the recent legal ruling and the BAA’s subsequent letter to the Chancellor, last week’s Budget made little reference to the Levy other than the announcement of a delay to this year’s planned 10p increase to £2.10 per tonne. The current rate of £2.00 per tonne has been frozen until 1 April 2013.

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