Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by J Robinson & Sons Ltd

  We are a quarry materials and concrete producer located in County Antrim employing 48 personnel. Antrim is the only Northern Ireland County not to have a land border with the Republic of Ireland and some government offices have suggested that the consequences of the tax and land border would lose effect after 10 miles inland. This is wholly incorrect as we see our business being affected directly for the following reasons:

    (1)  Quarries within 20 miles of the border will be forced to close or relocate to the Republic of Ireland due to a massive black market which will emerge as a result of the tax, similar to that of the fuel industry. Quarries within 25 to 40 miles of the border will be unable to compete south of their works and will be forced to focus on markets north in County Antrim.

    We see our region becoming intensely competitive with an influx of new suppliers in an already depressed market creating massive over subscription and zero margins.

    (2)  We have a customer base, which extends to all parts of Northern Ireland. It will be virtually impossible to market our products to a contractor based in a border county, working in Antrim, and having the benefit of cheap imports at home.

    (3)  How do we convince our contractors and builders they have to pay 40 per cent more for our products? How are they even expected to manage a two tier pricing structure in a small province like Northern Ireland?

  These issues along with the many other issues already raised by our Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland Office will lead to the eventual collapse of our business and many others in County Antrim.

  Our economy in County Antrim will in no doubt suffer the same fate as that of the border counties, leading to total province wide industry collapse, should the aggregate tax come into effect.

23 October 2001

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