West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA Michaela Boyle has called on Minister Mark H Durkan to clear up the confusion caused by his mixed answers on the HGV Haulage Levy introduced by the British government on 1st April.
Michaela Boyle said:
“On at least three occasions Mark H Durkan has given different interpretations of enforcement of the HGV Levy which was imposed on April 1st.
“On the 13th of March, Mark Durkan informed us that in the absence of local regulation the PSNI would have a role in enforcing the levy.
“Then in the Assembly on the 12th of May during a debate on the levy, he said, “I do not know who they paid. No one is collecting it here”
“In his latest response to a question I posed to him on 6th of June seeking clarification of his position he responded that the British Drivers and Vehicle Agency is responsible for enforcing the levy and that non-payment is an offence.
“This raises further questions around enforcement. Does Mr Durkan stand by his assertion on March 13th that the PSNI ‘would have a role in enforcing the levy? If he does how does he explain his 6th June response that ‘It is classified as an Excepted Matter(not a power of the Assembly) for the purposes of the NI Act 1998 and as such the (Westminster) Department for Transport has lead responsibility for all aspects of the levy, including its enforcement. Not paying the Levy is an offence’? If this is an excepted matter but policing isn’t, how would the PSNI have a role in enforcing it?
“Can the Minister now tell us which of his conflicting messages is the official one?
“I call on Minister Durkan to act immediately to clear up the confusion that he has created. He needs to raise the issue with the British Government immediately and stress the impact that this regressive tax could have on the £2.3billion trade between the two parts of the island and seek full exemption from the Levy for all our roads.”