South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has raised concerns with Northern Ireland Minister Andrew Robathan regarding the reinstatement of the Aggregates Levy Credit Scheme in Northern Ireland.
The scheme granted operators a reduction in the aggregates levy charge if they agreed to meet environmental requirements but it is currently suspended during a State Aid Investigation by the European Commission.
Speaking following her meeting with Mr Robathan this morning (17 December), Ms Ritchie said: “The Levy Credit Scheme is absolutely critical for our local quarry operators and indeed for the whole of the construction industry and I am very pleased that the Minster for Northern Ireland has agreed to make direct representations to the European Commission following our meeting.
“The industry has faced incredibly challenging conditions in recent years following the financial crisis with crumbling demand and high prices, and the removal of the Levy Credit Scheme on top of this has made a difficult situation almost impossible.
“I was reassured to be told that the UK government are doing what they can to support this case in front of the European Commission and if approval is granted they will re-enact the levy with immediate effect. However, continuing pressure must be exerted at a European level to ensure a positive outcome and we must prioritise the reinvigoration of the construction industry,” added Ms Ritchie.]]>