Letter from the British Aggregates Association
to Mr John Hall, HM Treasury
Thank you for meeting with Mark Adams and myself,
at the DETR last week. We found the meeting most useful.
I have attempted to establish the level of trade
in pre-cast concrete products between Northern Ireland and the
UK mainland. It would appear that between 4,000 and 5,000 tonnes
of concrete products are shipped out of Northern Ireland on a
weekly basis. This does not account for products exported to Eire
or used in their local market.
With the price of pre-cast concrete ranging
from £60.00 to over £100.00 per tonne the potential
loss to Northern Ireland's economy would be considerable. I met
with our NI members, in Belfast, last week and they are in no
doubt that this tax would bring about the demise of the greater
part of the pre-cast industry. As I have already explained, because
secondary aggregates, dust and less popular sizes will have to
bear the full rate of tax, mainstream aggregate prices will increase
by at least £2.00 per tonne. A medium size concrete plant,
using 150,000 tonnes of sand and aggregate per annum would have
to find an additional £300,000 in revenue to stand still.
Because imported concrete products will not be taxed, unlike imported
aggregates, the majority of these plants will undoubtedly be re-located
south of the border.
The NI members are also concerned that they
will loose out on asphalt and ready-mix concrete sales to Southern
Ireland. At present several companies, located in NI, deliver
asphalt and ready-mixed concrete across the border. However because
aggregates incorporated in these products will be taxed, even
although the finished product is being exported, they will no
longer be competitive. They also report that there is very little
border control, exerted by the South, and they fully expect a
great deal of material to be brought in without paying any tax.
I am sure you will agree that this represents a very worrying
situation and warrants further investigation.
The Scottish parliament are also greatly concerned
about the effects of this tax, on the Scottish economy, and are
to hold a special one day inquiry immediately after the summer
30 June 2000