A new stealth tax on tyres which will pour millions of euro into a new Government-appointed agency or quango that will cost motorists money while putting jobs in the tyre industry at risk.
That was the stark warning in a statement today (Thursday) from the Independent Tyre Wholesalers and Retailers Association (ITWRA) as they took their protest (supported by many members of the ITIA) against the proposed levy on to the streets of Dublin with over 50 vans and trucks circling Dail Eireann in a major protest.
The tyre industry protest organised by the ITWRA and also attended by many individual members of the Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) – is totally opposed to the proposed levy which would see the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment imposing a new tax on the motoring public, and all businesses that use road transport in any form.
While the industry welcomed moves last night by Minister Denis Naughton on the levy payable by farmers, it said this does not go far enough. “It was more than coincidental than we got a letter from the Minister announcing a row back on a levy payable by farmers less than 24 hours before our Dail protest was due to take place”, a spokesman said.
So while it appears that farmers and farm contractors will get a stay of execution for 2017, you can be sure a high agri-tyre levy or tax will also be added within 12 months.
However, under the proposed Government levy, motorists replacing their tyres would still pay nearly €13 per car while it is speculated that already hard-pressed hauliers for instance will pay an extra €15 or more for each truck tyre. The fee proposed by the Department is double, and in some cases treble, what consumers currently pay.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and Repak ELT have failed to produce a business plan explaining these higher costs.
Previously, an industry-led scheme achieved a producer compliance rate of up to 90 per cent. That was despite the Department’s failure to install a system of cross reporting between the three approved schemes. It was also without any control over the issuing of waste tyre permits, coupled with no enforcement. All of this facilitated rogue operators with valid waste permits to build up large tyre dumps around the country with blame attributed to legitimate tyre traders.
“We have offered a cost-effective solution but Government officials have refused to have consider this option. Instead, they have appointed Repak ELT, a new company with no experience in the tyre industry, to run an overly expensive the compliance scheme that the end-users will have to pay for. This process will create a monopoly which could end up costing the taxpayer in a similar way to Irish Water”, the spokesman said.
The industry also warned that jobs will be lost if the Minister insists on pushing through this levy and motorists and haulage companies opt to buy their new tyres in other jurisdictions, such as the UK and Northern Ireland where there is no such levy/tax.
At the same time, the industry also pointed out that it could lead to unregulated tyre dealers and private motorists dumping waste tyres to avoid the tax, with adverse environmental consequences.
“The Government is not taking the views and recommendations of the tyre industry on board. These views are being ignored and the future of all tyre retailers is being placed in the hands of one private company with no stake in the industry and without prior agreement. A monopoly situation is being created which will favour one company which has been given the job of operating the proposed compliance scheme and which will receive excessive amounts of money for doing so,” the spokesman stated.
The tyre industry reiterates that it wishes to take full responsibility for tyre waste with a fit-for-purpose scheme that recycles all tyre responsibly, educates the trade and the end-users, and funds proper enforcement. The current scheme about to be imposed by Minister Naughton and operated by Repak ELT is not-fit-for-purpose, will impose much higher and unnecessary cost on hard-pressd motorists, businesses, and particularly the haulage industry. Farmers and farm contractors will now have a stay of execution for 2017, but be sure high charges on agri-tyres will follow too.
He added that the industry would not support an onerous, expensive and complicated scheme which will distort the market and facilitate the growth of the black market when the industry can do this job better without any additional burden on the consumer.
The tyre industry recently met with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Mr Denis Naughton, but without a satisfactory outcome. The ITWRA says that the industry will now go ahead with an official complaint on the matter to the European Commission.