The Treasury claimed in the pre-Budget report to have seen "early indications" of a reduction in aggregates extraction, without saying anything more.
In January, Economic Secretary John Healey went further, saying: "Emerging evidence suggests that overall primary aggregates extraction has fallen since the levy's introduction; for example, the total outputs from the Annual Minerals Raised Inquiry for Great Britain for 2002 show a decrease of 5.7% on the 2001 figures.
"While there are a number of factors affecting extraction levels, it is clear that the levy has played a significant part in encouraging that reduction."1The claim may be felt to be over-confident, since the levy only took effect in April 2002. It is also disputed by the Quarry Products Association, which argued in a report last autumn that, while the levy has cut sales of crushed rock, it has also stimulated quarrying of levy-exempt minerals (ENDS Report 346, pp 3-5 ).