Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Response to Requests for Further Information from the Committee during the Oral Evidence Session

  Please find below the answers to the questions, which we agreed to forward to you.

  1.  QQ20-22

  The total number of quarries, and sand/gravel operations in Northern Ireland amounts to 176. We have included a map which was produced by the Geological survey of Northern Ireland, who also confirmed the above number of quarry operations, to illustrate the distribution of operations around Northern Ireland and in particular within 25 miles of the border. Please see attached map (See Annex 1).


  Total operations with Northern Ireland—179.

  Operations within 25 miles of the border—125.

  Total number of jobs in Quarry Products Industry—5612.

  Number of jobs in companies within 25 miles of the border—approximately 3600.

  Percentage of jobs within the quarry products industry which are within 25 miles of the border—65 per cent.

  2.  Q29—Calculations indicating a net loss to the Treasury deriving from the introduction of the aggregates tax in Northern Ireland.


  The tax will be damaging economically as well as environmentally. Construction clients in the public and private sector will face an "initial" additional cost of £14 million. This cost burden is perhaps more significant because approximately 40 per cent of aggregates in Northern Ireland are bought directly or indirectly by the public sector for projects, which include Road, Rail, Schools, Water, Homes and Hospitals etc., indeed in a country that desperately needs major infrastructure investment, the Roads Service alone, will require up to 15 per cent additional funding, which does not auger well for the future or indeed the existing backlog.

£ million
Annual Production (taken from minerals statement of 1999) = 22 million tonnes @ £1.60 levy
Reduction in national insurance contribution from 12.2 per cent to 12.1 per cent in Northern Ireland on 645k employees (quarterly employment survey 12 September 2001 see annex 2) @ average earnings of £187k pa—£5k pa NIC exempt = £137k pa. See annex 3.
Northern Ireland contribution from newly created sustainability fund, calculated on the Barrett Formula.
Non recoverable additional cost to the public sector (ie aggregate volume purchased by public sector) @ 40 per cent of 22 million tonnes.
Unemployment costs and tax revenue losses of 4,000 jobs.
Loss to black economy @ 15 per cent of 35.2 million.
Cost of administration, collection, apprehension and perhaps prosecution @ 6 per cent of 35.2 million.
NI Aggregate Tax Co Loss
54 million

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