Aggregates tax could spell end of UK dimension stone industry
"WHAT little remains of Britain's dimension stone industry could be forced out of business by the proposed aggregates tax, according to a new industry report issued by the British Aggregates Association.
The report says the industry has already suffered greatly in the face of international competition, often from countries with virtually no environmental controls.
Although dimension stone itself will be tax exempt, all waste or secondary aggregate generated by the production process and subsequently sold will be subject to the same amount of tax as top-quality mainstream aggregate and will have to compete with other wastes and by-products which are to be exempt.
The BAA says foreign producers will not have this burden, which could spell the end of British dimension stone production.
The report also warns that the UK limestone industry will be badly affected by the tax, as it can take up to six tonnes of feed material to produce one tonne of industrial-grade limestone. Businesses will quickly become uneconomic, says the BAA, as the scalpings which have to be removed from the site to maintain working space will be subject to the tax.
BAA director Robert Durward said: 'We believe the aggregates tax is both environmentally and commercially damaging. The BAA has uncovered a raft of problems associated with this levy which make a cast iron case for having the tax dropped completely. It is not too late for the Government to step back from inflicting such damage on a vital industry.'"