Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Session 2002-2003

6 November 2003


INTRODUCTION OF THE AGGREGATES LEVY IN NORTHERN IRELAND: ONE YEAR ON

COMMITTEE WELCOMES MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON THE AGGREGATES LEVY

Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Healey MP has confirmed that the aggregates levy is unlikely to meet its environmental aims in Northern Ireland, and the Government is investigating other means to achieve those goals.

Welcoming the announcement, which was made at the Committee's meeting on 5th November in connection with its inquiry into the Introduction of the Aggregates Levy in Northern Ireland: one year on, Chairman Michael Mates MP said:

"We announced a second inquiry into the Aggregates Levy in Northern Ireland because it was clear to us that the levy in Northern Ireland was not achieving its environmental aims, or enabling the effective regulation of the industry so it could continue to survive and prosper. 

Given the Minister's frank acknowledgement that some of the levy's stated aims are not being achieved, and that he is looking at the levy again with a view to alleviating the negative effects it has produced in Northern Ireland, we have decided to issue the following statement:

We are delighted with the news we have been given by the Minister, and wish to encourage him warmly to proceed with his negotiations, with the aggregates industry and the European Commission, as constructively and quickly as possible. 

We are suspending our inquiry until the Government is in a position to make a substantive announcement.  We would urge strongly that all concerned with the levy in the aggregates industry, within Northern Ireland and in Great Britain, co-operate fully with the Government to find a method to ensure that the environmental and other aims are met."

Notes:

1. The full text of the Minister's and the Chairman's statements will be placed on the Committee's website from 12 noon on Friday 7 November.

2.The Committee may be contacted on 020 7219 2172.