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Benn told to honour pledge to return landfill tax to councils

Demands for funds raised through landfill tax to be returned to local authorities (LAs) have come from the Local Government Association (LGA) amid concerns about LA budgets.

In a letter to Environment Minister Hilary Benn, LGA chairman Simon Milton said that this years dramatic increase in tax could result in nearly £70 per household going to Whitehall. He added: Council tax payers will be hit with a £1.5 billion bill unless money raised through landfill tax is returned to councils as 9promised and invested in refuse and recycling facilities.

On behalf of LAs he called on Benn to honour your pledge to return the money raised through landfill tax to LAs.

In the 2003 Pre-Budget Report the Government said that landfill tax increases would be revenue neutral to LAs. Until April 2008, cash raised from councils through the tax has been returned to them to invest in waste facilitates. This, Milton said, has helped to drive up the UKs recycling rate to 30%. He added that cash must continue to be returned if the growth in recycling is to be sustained.

Milton also said: Landfill tax is designed to encourage people to throw away less, but at the moment it is unfairly penalising hard-pressed councils that need all the extra money from tax returned to enable them to invest in offering local people better recycling facilities.

But a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman said: The recent settlement for LAs provides enough funding to meet pressures on waste and take account of landfill including landfill tax. A key objective of Government is to protect local tax payers from excessive council tax increases. The Government has to reduce the waste we all produce which in turn will reduce the amount sent to landfill.

 

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