Aggregates hauliers closer to overturning levy
A decade-long fight by hauliers to overturn the aggregates levy could be nearing its end after the Court of Appeal gave permission for a hearing this autumn.
The £2 per tonne tax on the commercial exploitation of rock, sand and gravel was introduced in 2002 and, according to the British Aggregates Association (BAA), has led to the collapse of some operators.
But following its victory in the European courts last year, a showdown with the Treasury before three Lord Justices in the Court of Appeal has been scheduled to take place in October.
BAA executive officer Richard Bird said: “If it goes in our favour, then there’s no legal basis for the aggregates levy and, one would assume, we stop paying it and we get our money back.”
He added that haulage firms had paid an estimated £3.5bn in tax and that there remained a possibility that operators could reclaim this money if it wins the appeal.
“I can’t imagine the Treasury giving it back for one minute,” he said. “That’s for another day.”
A Treasury spokeswoman said: “The government continues to contest claims that the aggregates levy gives rise to state aid.
"A High Court ruling in 2002 found the aggregates levy does not amount to state aid, therefore businesses registered for the levy and commercially exploiting aggregate in the UK have a continuing legal obligation to pay the levy due on their activities.”