Local Government Minister Bob Neill MP visits ABP Ipswich as Government lifts back-dated port tax

March 13, 2012

On Monday, 5 March Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Bob Neill MP, visited Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Ipswich to promote the introduction of the Localism Act, which provides the statutory instrument to enable the write-off of backdated rates for port-based businesses.

Meeting with Nick Ridehalgh, ABP Port Director Short Sea Ports; Alastair MacFarlane, ABP Port Manager East Anglia; and David Rumsey, Finance Director Clarkson Port Services, Mr Neill discussed the implications of the Act, saying: “For too long this unfair backdated port tax took its toll on the ports industry, with unexpected million pound bills damaging the businesses at the foundation of this country’s import and export infrastructure.

“The Government took swift action to reverse these effects – our freeze on paying the backdated tax helped prevent job losses and let companies plan for the future. And from 31st March, affected businesses in ports and across England can, at last, breathe a sigh of relief as our action to waive their bills is completed.

“Now the looming threat of the unfair backdated port tax is finally behind us, I’m confident that the industry can move forward with putting that money to its rightful use – to build up their businesses, retain jobs and benefit from international trade.”

Mr Ridehalgh explained that the move has been welcomed by ABP and its customers, and thanked Mr Neill for his efforts: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the Port of Ipswich for a second visit. While in opposition, he visited the port in order to listen to the industry's concerns about the imposition of retrospective business rates and committed to lobbying for a change in the previous government's position. It is very pleasing to note that, now in office, the coalition government has delivered on the commitment to support port businesses and we obviously welcome the part of the Localism Act which will finally solve the issue of backdated rates in England.”

Mr Rumsey said: “This issue has been hanging over the industry and local port businesses for the last four years, during the worst economic crisis this country has faced. We are grateful for the government’s decision to waive the back-dated rates and we can now plan more positively in developing our business here in the Port of Ipswich.”

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