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House Clearance Sunderland Costs
The 20% increase in license fees for most house clearance Sunderland recycling sites is unpopular to say the least. Effectively a tax on running a house clearance business in the Sunderland area, like all taxes it has to be paid or you risk prosecution.
The licence charges are not only relatively new, but have been raised by more than the rate of inflation every year since they were introduced. This time by more than five times inflation. Since the fees were first introduced in 1994, they have risen by 75% and in some cases doubled. Why the fees? To fund the Environment Agency, who regulate the waste management industry & house clearance services in Sunderland amongst many other functions.
The Agency hopes ultimately to be self-financing, so it has the privilege of interpreting the law, setting the licence fees, collecting the money and prosecuting those who don’t cough up. By all accounts the Agency seems to be keener on collecting the cash from the law-abiding than chasing house clearance companies operating in the Sunderland area who don’t even bother to register.
There is something quite unusual in the whole set-up. If you compare the Environment Agency with other official tax-collecting agencies (Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise to name a few), it has the distinction of setting its own tax levels and using the funds raised to pay its own costs. It is effectively independent of Government. In this great democracy of ours, its officials are unelected and to the outside world appear to be unaccountable, despite the Agency’s Consumer Charter.
If the Chancellor makes a mess of a budget then he faces the sack, or losing the next election. As he is accountable, he is unlikely to impose a 20% tax rise on the electorate. In fact in the budget the Chancellor claimed to be reducing the burden of taxation on small to medium sized businesses. Surely most house clearance are in this category? Since the Agency started operating, we have witnessed a not so hidden agenda of targeting the recycling & house clearance industry. Licence fees for recycling house clearance waste especially here in Sunderland have just risen by 20% yet charges for radioactive substance regulations have risen by only 8%, and those for Discharge licences by 9.6%. Even to the casual observer, this is unfair.
The Agency justifies its decision by saying that it needs more money to fund its enforcement of the Waste Management Regulations i.e. making those house clearance companies in Sunderland who never bothered to register comply with the law. The Agency’s last annual report showed that the average licensed house clearance company in Sunderland is inspected or visited once a month. Surely, so many visits to house clearance companies abiding by the regulations are unnecessary.
If Agency officials visited licensed house clearance company headquaters less often, they would have more resources to enforce the Regulations on those in the house clearance business who blatantly flout the laws. At the very least this would create an even playing field for all house clearers in Sunderland & across the UK. Why should those breaking the law enjoy a commercial advantage over those who comply and shoulder the added expense?