Now Osborne throws out the 'skip tax'
Government 'clarifies' position on taxation of rubbish dumped in landfill after outcry
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Saturday 02 June 2012
The Government has killed off plans for a massive hike in charges for dumping rubbish after waste firms condemned the so-called "skip tax."
The companies declared victory last night after HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) issued new guidance aimed at ending the controversy. The Independent revealed on Thursday that skips full of rubble could go uncollected after a rise of almost 2,500 per cent in the tax for dumping certain types of rubbish in landfill sites. Ministers denied making another U-turn at the end of a week which saw George Osborne dump some of the key measures in his March Budget. But the revised guidance is as an embarrassment at a time when the Government's competence is being questioned.
Last week, HMRC issued guidance to help operators identify the rates to apply to different materials, after complaints from the industry that some tips were not applying the rules correctly. Some tips then started levying tax on waste dumped from skips at £64 a ton, rather than the previous £2.50.
But HMRC said yesterday that the huge increase was based on a misunderstanding. "This is not a U-turn, it is a clarification," said an HMRC spokeswoman."The rules have been in place since 2009 and the rules have not changed. The operators need to look at the rules." Richard Hunt, chairman of the Plant and Waste Recycling Show, which organised a petition against the landfill tax increases, said the fresh guidance resolved the problem and urged operators to call off plans to disrupt Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend by staging roadblocks.
John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The sudden announcement and imposition of this huge tax increase threatened to put hundreds of small firms out of business, almost overnight. We are delighted ministers have acted so quickly."
The Treasury denied that a "black hole" would be left in the public finances by the U-turns over the so-called pasty tax, the caravan tax, tax relief on charitable donations and the rate of VAT on church repairs. Sources said the cost, estimated at between £150m - £180m, was a relatively small amount.
David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, said: "The reality is that the Budget in March was fiscally neutral, but indeed there was, if you like, a buffer zone there. This still remains a fiscally neutral budget. Even taking into account that those three changes... the Budget does not add to our borrowing."
However, the Treasury faces accusations of double standards because it often rejects pleas for extra spending on the grounds that there is no money available. Rachel Reeves, the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "This series of U-turns shows what a mess this Government is in."
2,500% The rise in tax for dumping certain types of rubbish that had been proposed
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...