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Euro judges rule on stone tax case

MATERIALS

A RULING on the legality of a tax on some aggregates has been handed down by judges at a European court.

Judges at the European Court of First Instance were due to rule on a legal challenge against the tax yesterday (Wednesday) in a move that could see the Government forced to pay back money raked in through the aggregates levy.

Treasu ry coffers have swollen by £1.3 billion since the £1.60 per tonne tax on newly quarried aggregate was introduced in April 2002.

Lawyers representing the British Aggregates Association argued that a decision by the European Union to allow the Government to limit the amount of tax paid by some quarries and exempt others was unlawful and because of this the tax itself was illegal.

Quarry operators have been queuing up to lodge claims for tax repayment as precautionary measures because of a three year t ime lim it on tax rebates.

Peter Huxtable, British Aggregates Association secretary, said both members and non-members had lodged claims for tax repayments, with as many as 100 quarry operators look ing to claw back cash.