Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Landfill tax clarification is ‘shambles’

Clarification by Whitehall of controversial landfill tax (LFT) changes has been labelled a “shambles” by Labour and done little to defuse anger within the waste industry.

After the announcement on Friday (1 June), Labour MPs accused the Government of an embarrassing U-turn – but now admit they jumped the gun and are calling for fresh changes.

Meanwhile, MRW understands no resolution was reached at a crisis meeting between waste firms and Government officials on Wednesday – although official confirmation has yet to be provided by either side.  

Labour backbencher, Siobhain McDonagh, who has been campaigning on the issue, told MRW: “Progress has been made but not enough. The firms involved face complete chaos. I am told that none of the landfill sites has issued their price lists.

“There needs to be a clarification of the clarification.”   

McDonagh plans to raise the matter in the House of Commons while Lord Kennedy (Lab) is due to raise the matter in the Lords next week. Kennedy told MRW last week’s clarification amounted to nothing more than “weaselled words”.

“It’s a complete shambles,” he said, “I am shocked the Government does not understand the impact that this is having on the industry.”

Events surrounding Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs publishing a “clarification” to the rules followed a confusing narrative.

Skip hire firms initially celebrated victory after the Treasury told campaigners that the re-issued guidance would result in “landfill sites reversing their fee increases”.

A Treasury letter, sent to campaigners by Robin Tasker, private secretary to economic secretary Chloe Smith, said: “We have been assured by the industry that the clarification [HMRC guidance] will result in waste transfer sites and landfill sites reversing their fee increases.”

But their joy was short-lived.

As reported by MRW, firms disposing of certain types of waste will still pay a far higher tax rate as a result of the guidance, and fears remain that businesses will go under.   

The consortium of small and mid-sized waste and skip firms from across the country who met the officials from Defra and HMRC this week is led by Mark Bensted, who is managing director of Powerday.

He said members had spoken to operators of materials recovery facilities, waste transfer stations and skips across the country and were disappointed the clarification did not address two key issues.

“Firstly, trommel fines, which are clean and inert, are still being charged at the top rate of landfill tax and, secondly, the complete lack of consultation with the industry about the changes,” Bensted said.

“We are asking that Government re-consider the status of clean, inert trommell fines and that they be brought inside the definition of materials described within the Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011.

“This is not about defending sham recyclers. There are companies, big and small, who have invested in equipment to maximise recycling. Part of that process creates clean inert fines.”

All MRW’s reports on the controversy can be accessed here

Readers' comments (2)

  • The issues not being highlighted are:
    1. This is effectively a windfall tax for the government worth perhaps £1bn per annum creeping in unannounced.
    2. This affects more than waste and recycling businesses. The cost will be passed on to customers, and will see up to 40% increase in waste disposal and recycling costs, with a consequent impact on the competitiveness of industry generally. Who knows what the will de to the prayed for recovery? (This government is more concerned about the debt than the recovery!).
    3. Many companies have not increased skip prices yet. As they do, there will be a huge increase in fly tipping. It has already started on a relatively small scale.
    4. The constant squeeze on spending will result in reduced capacity to police waste companies, landfills and the general public by the EA and HMRC. The increase in tax collections will be used for debt servicing rather than ensuring proper practice.
    In time, everything will achieve an equilibrium and a level laying field will result. But in the meantime, anarchy will rule and shoddy practices will be more rewarding!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The previous labour government introduced this tax so it’s a bit rich when one of their MP kicks up a fuss because they allowed the system to be abused whilst they were in power.
    In west London there is an operator that claims not to landfill anything yet this company is up in arms about HMRC’s stance. Why is that?
    It is a fact that some skip operators/transfer stations have been getting away with mixing active and inert waste for years. Why should they not pay the right amount of Landfill Tax when others have to?
    At the end of the day if every operator pays the same rate of Landfill Tax it will not impact on any jobs as everyone in the industry will be paying the same disposal rates. Surely that’s fair!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.