Contributions from: Richard Ottaway MP, Ian Hetherington, Nicola Guest
More from: Big Question: Setting the scene
Richard Ottaway, Member of Parliament for Croydon South
A properly funded and regulated licensing scheme with effective compliance and enforcement activity will ultimately benefit all scrap metal dealers – large and small – by closing down illegal, unlicensed dealers and providing a level-playing field for legitimate businesses.
The licence fee is not designed to be onerous or punitive, but to ensure the system works and can be properly policed.
Keeping a record of dealings should not be a burden on small businesses. Any properly-run scrap metal business that is paying its due taxes should already be conducting some form of record keeping.
Moreover, the benefits they stand to gain from rooting out the rogue dealers who have been undermining and undercutting the legitimate dealers far outweigh the cost of a licence fee.
Small dealers are turning over tens of thousands – but more often hundreds of thousands – of pounds a year. They should welcome the opportunity to bring their businesses into the 21st century.
Ian Hetherington, director general, British Metal Recycling Association
The SMDA should not substantially increase the administrative burden on smaller site-based dealers; particularly if they were already compliant with Operation Tornado, as they will already be requesting suppliers to provide proof of their identity. In fact, the new legislation should protect smaller dealers from unfair competition by strengthening the licensing system and providing some real penalties for those who flout the law.
However, we do acknowledge that the Act has increased the administrative burden on mobile collectors by requiring them to apply for a licence in every council area in which they both collect and sell scrap.
Nicola Guest, marketing manager, Alchemy Metals
We really do not consider the record keeping requirements to be an ‘administrative burden’, ensuring that proof of ID and address is kept on electronic or paper file is hardly onerous - yes - it may add a minute or two at most to a transaction, but more importantly it ensures full traceability and deters metal thieves from trying to sell into legitimate merchants.
By bringing mobile collectors into cashless trading, it means that all are operating on a level playing field. Complying with cashless trading has proved challenging for many businesses of all sizes but ultimately there are many appropriate solutions for all areas of the industry available.