According to the Local Government Association (LGA) local taxpayers should not be punished with a rise in landfill tax, instead the money should be re-invested in aid of boosting recycling.
The LG has written to chancellor, George Osborne to set out reasons as to why an increase in landfill tax should be avoided.
The present tax levied on waste disposal stands at £72 per tonne, and this figure is set to rise £80 per tonne next April. As shown by LGA projections households will pay £30 towards the tax in 2014/15, the LGA says that this money is retained by the treasury rather than invested in waste technologies.
In Mike Jones, chair of LGA’s environment and housing board’s letter to the chancellor, he asked Osborne to bear in mind “the real and additional cost burden that an increase in landfill tax would have on tax payers”.
As originally planned when the tax was introduced, councils are opting for landfill tax to be frozen and its receipts returned to local areas. Despite huge efforts by councils to deter waste from landfill, taxpayers none the less face a bill of £635m for 2014/15 as the treasury uses the tax to “supplement its coffers”.
“Cash collected by the tax should be used for investment on ‘forward thinking waste infrastructure projects’, which will help the UK become a world leader in extracting value from waste,” stated an LGA spokesperson, before adding: “Councils have worked hard with residents over the past decade to drive down the amount of waste sent to landfill, reducing it by more than 60% since 2000 and 45% in the last five years.”
“Householders have really embraced recycling over the last decade, but if we are to build on this we need to re-invest in infrastructure. Instead of any re-investment, current arrangements mean central government is collecting and keeping money at local taxpayers’ expense.”
The letter the LGA sent to the chancellor is fully supported by Dr Adam Read at consultants Ricardo-AEA .
“Reinvesting landfill taxation in appropriate service development and supporting community engagement and the roll out of new systems etc is a sensible use of the money.
“This ensures that tax payer monies go back into improving local solutions thus reducing in the long term the generation of future landfill taxation from an area/community,” said Dr Read.
Someone in favour of annual increases in Landfill Tax however is Paul Levett, chairman of Closed Loop Recycling’s advisory board.
“UK Landfill Tax, originally implemented in order to restrict waste sent to landfill, has helped create and develop a whole new recycling industry – including our own food grade plastic recycling industry – and create thousands of green jobs. At Closed Loop Recycling we are advocates of annual increases in Landfill Tax, at least in line with RPI, as well as long term visibility of these tax rates in order that recyclers can continue to invest with greater certainty.”