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Scotland Landfill Tax Bill 2012: An Economic Assessment

This report regards the Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Scotland Landfill Tax Bill 2012.

The initial stimulus of this study comes from the following recommendation from the Calman Commission:

“Stamp Duty Land Tax, Aggregates Levy, Landfill Tax and Air Passenger Duty should be devolved to theScottish Parliament, again with a corresponding reduction in the block grant.”

The Coalition Government of 2010 committed to implementing these recommendations, including the transfer of legislative responsibility to Scotland to set the level of Landfill Tax along with some other fiscal instruments. The Scottish Government was then given the ability to set the level of landfill tax from 2014/15 (the end of the period of application of the current UK landfill tax escalator).

Following from this decision Eunomia was commissioned to carry out a study looking at the potential options for a Scottish specific landfill tax. The aim of the project was to consider options for varying the landfill tax with respect to the rest of the UK, and to consider the impact this would have on waste policy, and Scotland’s goal of achieving a Zero Waste Society. The definition of a Zero Waste Society is summarised below:

“everything we use and throw away is a resource which has a value, a value that we should try to preserve, capture, and use again wherever possible.

That is what a zero waste Scotland means - not a country where we never throw anything away, but a new approach to making the most effective use of all resources, and avoiding wasting resources or making them unusable wherever we can.”

Richard Lochhead, MSP - Cabinet Secretary

This project takes place in the context of Scottish Government’s deliberations regarding its options in the light of the provisions of the Scotland Act, which received Royal Assent earlier this year, and which implies that the (currently) U.K. -wide landfill tax will be disapplied in Scotland as of April 2015. In October 2012, the Scottish Government set out a range of questions in a Consultation Document. Most of these were related to changes in the detail of the structure and design. The intention, for the most part, appears to be to maintain a similar tax to the one currently in place across the UK.

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