Alliance calls for ‘Chewing Gum Tax’

Newry Times News Posted by
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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Politics

The Alliance Party has urged the Minister for the Environment Alex Attwood MLA to consider the introduction of a Chewing Gum Tax to help cover the cost of removal of the sticky substance from pavements across Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the issue, South Down Alliance Spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke stated,

“Chewing Gum is rightly seen as a scourge for Town Centre’s across Northern Ireland. Many Town Centre’s have recently been revitalised through new pavements and street furniture but are now fast being destroyed due to chewing gum and other litter which degrades the beautiful surfaces just laid.”

“Whilst we can debate whether funding should go towards prevention or clean-up it is clear that concerted action is needed to tackle this sticky problem. The voluntary regulation regime needs tightened up without delay whilst consideration is given concerning whether a Chewing Gum Tax is practical and necessary.

Clarke continued, “No longer should Northern Ireland be denied a voice at the Chewing Gum Action Group. Valuable lessons can also be learnt concerning how Ireland have approached the issue.”

“It remains unclear whether the Northern Ireland Assembly would have the power to raise a specific levy on Chewing Gum products to cover prevention and clean-up costs.

“Deputy Leader and MP Naomi Long has therefore tabled a question to HM Treasury in an effort to establish if any legal basis exists for a tax and, if not, whether Northern Ireland can be offered a place at the Action Group table.”

Clarke added, “With clean-up costs in Down District potentially in the region of thousands of pounds each year I am most concerned that Northern Ireland lacks the necessary powers to tackle this problem.”

“With Down District Council facing the prospect of having to pass on the financial clean-up costs to the rate payers once each Town Centre is spruced up action is urgently required. No longer should chewing gum companies be able to cream a nice profit each year whilst rate payers suffer the financial burden of removal.”


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