Time to scrap the Aggregates Levy, says BAA
THE British Aggregates Association (BAA) has written to the Chancellor, George Osborne, asking that the Aggregates Levy be repealed in his emergency Budget on 22 June.
Widely regarded as a ‘stealth tax’, the BAA says the levy has attracted a great deal of criticism since it was introduced in 2002 and has failed to produce any of the benefits claimed.
‘Not only was this levy based on research which was set up to produce the answer that Ed Balls wanted, it was never capable of achieving environmental gain,’ commented BAA director, Robert Durward.
‘There were no rebates for environmental improvements and much more polluting extractive industries such as coal, slate and china clay were exempt altogether.’
As a result of the effects of the recession on private sector construction, the BAA says the percentage of aggregates going to the public sector is now around 70% of the total. In addition, the Association maintains that December 2008 judgement ruling by the European Court of Justice almost certainly means that the levy will have to be scrapped as it constitutes illegal state aid.
‘Now that its environmental credentials have been exposed as a sham and the taxpayer is paying the bulk of it anyway, it is time to call time on this ridiculous levy,’ said Mr Durward.
He added: ‘Company analysts Plimsoll report that more than one third of all quarry companies are now ‘at significant risk’, and with the construction industry still on its knees – why prolong the agony?’
In his conclusion to the Chancellor, Mr Durward argues that any loss in the revenue incurred by scrapping the levy, would be more than balanced by the increase in employment and other taxes that would follow any recovery in the construction sector, which in turn would be assisted by repealing the levy.