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3 January 2002

Disregard for Economic Impact of New Aggregates Tax

“Another Stealth Tax from Brown to Penalise Scotland” says MSP Stewart Stevenson

Parliamentary Answers received during the Scottish Parliament’s Christmas recess reveal that the Scottish Executive has no strategy for dealing with the effects of the introduction of the Aggregates Tax in Scotland.

Speaking today, Banff & Buchan MSP, Stewart Stevenson commented;

“The introduction of the Aggregates Tax will clearly place substantial new burdens on both Scottish quarries and on the capital projects that use aggregate products.

“With a tax of £1.60 per ton, roads, railway maintenance, new schools & hospitals will pay substantially more for their cement, stone and tar. And yet the Scottish Executive tells me that ‘Assessment of economic impacts of taxation measures is a matter for HM Treasury.’

“This indicates a blatant disregard for Scotland’s economic health.”

Speaking about the very different response of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Executive, Stewart Stevenson said,

“There has been a vigorous response to the imposition of Gordon Brown’s new stealth tax in Northern Ireland. Debate there convinced all political parties that the return of money via a very small reduction in National Insurance would be far less than the cost of the tax.

“Like so many other new taxes, the effect is a net transfer of money to big cities such as London. And the successful campaign to restrict imposition of the new tax in Northern Ireland shows the way.

“It appears that the Labour-Liberal coalition in Scotland have not even put the case to London despite the evidence from Northern Ireland that it is actually possible to get London to listen when the case is overwhelming.

“If Labour in Scotland cannot stand up for our economic interests, it is time they moved over and made way for people who will. Only the SNP will always fight for our interests.”

Stewart Stevenson
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