NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay questions Treasury Minister on funding for Fenland road improvements

NE CAMBS MP Steve Barclay has today used his position on the Finance Bill in Parliament to push for a fairer system for road improvements in Fenland.

Mr Barclay - one of just a dozen Government backbench MPs to sit on the Bill - encouraged changes to the aggregate levy for road improvements across North East Cambridgeshire.

The aggregate levy came into effect in 2002 - imposing a tax to make rock, gravel and sand extraction better reflect its environmental cost.

It costs �2 per tonne and will increase to �2.10 from 1 April 2012, yet all the money collected goes directly to the Treasury.

Mr Barclay said: “Local villages like Sutton and Mepal suffer the consequences of aggregate extraction in terms of more lorries on our roads.

“Yet they do not reap any of the benefits, since all the tax revenue goes to the Treasury. I think some of this levy should go to the communities impacted by aggregate extraction.

“The increase in the aggregate levy from 2012 gives the Treasury more scope to fund local road improvements. It strikes me as reasonable for some of this revenue to be shared with the communities most affected.”

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Mr Barclay pointed out to the three Treasury ministers present during the Finance Bill hearing that a precedent has been set in Northern Ireland, allowing operators to gain a tax credit if they commit to environmental schemes.

Mr Barclay is therefore pushing for this precedent to be applied in Cambridgeshire in respect of road schemes.

In response, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury agreed to instruct officials to investigate the issue and write to the MP, including disclosing the scale of revenue currently raised.

The Minister also agreed to review the forecast tax the Treasury will receive given the planned increase in the aggregate levy combined with proposed increases in aggregate extraction in the Fens.