Memorandum submitted by Loughside Quarries
As a quarrying company operating in County Antrim,
Northern Ireland, we take this opportunity to express our grave
concerns the Aggregate Tax would have on the Northern Ireland
It is obvious that imports of quarry materials
from the Republic of Ireland would have a totally devastating
effect on the quarries up to 30 miles on the northern side of
the border. This would seriously affect the viability of quarries
in approximately two thirds of the provence. The remaining area,
which due to the distance from the border, mainly County Antrim,
would come under severe pressure and competition from quarries
outside the area as they try to survive. The outcome of this would
be considerable price-cutting and ultimately closures and bankruptcies.
Implementation of the tax would be about impossible
to police in Northern Ireland, many devious schemes are already
being considered by unscrupulous operators to avoid much of the
tax. This action would be to the detriment of bona fide quarry
owners wishing to comply with the law.
The Fuel Retail Sector in Northern Ireland has
already experienced a downturn of approximately 50 per cent since
1994 due to the tax differences between Northern Ireland and the
Republic. The same situation would arise in the Quarry Industry,
resulting in increases in unemployment, causing a burden on Government,
and in addition formerly viable businesses no longer contributing
to the Exchequer in profit tax.
Quarrying has always tended to operate locally,
with relatively short haulage distances from the quarry to the
site. The tax would cause much more stone etc to be hauled over
longer distances from the Republic of Ireland, causing more pollution,
and the fuel used in the vehicles would be purchased outside the
United Kingdom, the Exchequer deriving no benefit whatsoever.
Northern Ireland circumstances being totally
different to the situation in mainland United Kingdom makes this
proposed tax grossly unfair, almost unworkable and counter-productive
in producing revenue.
The difficulties this tax would create compels
us to request a serious re-think on the entire proposal.
24 October 2001